Successful marketing is based on your ability to continuously improve your efforts on a year by year basis. This means that now that 2018 has come to an end, you’ll want to take into account the previous year’s marketing successes and failures as well as new trends and needs when preparing your marketing strategy for 2019. The following are the steps that you should take to do just that:
1. Review your 2018 marketing strategy and tactics
Start by looking back at what your marketing goals were for 2018 and whether or not you were able to achieve them. Take a careful look at the various tactics that you implemented to determine which ones had a positive effect on the achievement of your goals and which ones fell short. You should use what you’ve learned to craft your new marketing strategy.
2. Review who your target audience is
Odds are you already have a good idea of who your target audience is, especially if you believe that your marketing efforts in 2018 were successful overall. However, audiences change over time. Make sure that you review your target audience and your buyer personas. You’ll want to make sure that you know exactly who you’re trying to reach as this will help to drive the different tactics that you implement this year (such as your content strategy and your social strategy).
3. Create new SMART goals for the year
You can’t have a marketing strategy without marketing goals or else you’ll have no idea whether your strategy is performing successfully or not. To make sure that you can judge the performance of your goals, make sure that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely). You can use what you’ve learned about the previous year’s goals (whether you achieved them or not and how realistic they were) to create this year’s.
4. Determine how you will achieve those goals
Once you’ve set your goals, begin coming up with ideas for how you can achieve them. You may want to reuse some of the same tactics you used last year, especially if they were effective. Those that did not work need to be replaced by new tactics. A good way to brainstorm new tactics is by looking at some of the recent marketing trends as well as marketing tactics suggestions made by industry professionals for this year.
5. Establish your marketing budget
Make sure that you establish your budget and take note of your resources before you begin creating your marketing plan. You may not be able to implement all of the tactics you’ve thought of–at least not right away, which means you’ll need to prioritize your strategy.
6. Create your marketing plan
Once you’ve taken into account your budget, begin crafting your marketing plan. One of the best ways to do this is by dividing the year into months and listing what new tactics you want to implement on a month by month basis and which ones you want to continue throughout the year. This gives you a visual representation of all of the marketing activities you’re committing to every month that will give you an idea of whether it’s realistic or not.
7. Execute your marketing strategy
There’s no point in having a marketing plan if you don’t execute it. Schedule the different marketing activities that you’ve planned out so that you can follow your plan throughout the year.
8. Continually review your efforts throughout the year
Don’t just blindly follow your marketing plan if it’s obviously failing. One of the huge benefits of inbound marketing is that you can make use of analytics to track the performance of various tactics, using your goals as benchmarks. If something’s not working, find a way to adjust your efforts or replace it with a different tactic so that you’re not wasting valuable resources. This ensures that your plan is not only effective, but efficiently executed as well.
Use these steps to learn from the success and failures of the previous year’s marketing efforts to put into place an effective marketing strategy that will achieve your goals in 2019.