Having an annual marketing strategy plan is key to maximizing effectiveness, goal achievement and budget allocation. Yet, so often companies develop and execute marketing plans ad hoc for various ideas throughout the year rather than a coordinated annual strategy that leads consumers through the story of the brand, including into a buying decision.

To develop coordinated marketing strategies that perform, they must be tested over time then honed and perfected to provide desired results. While very few marketing strategies and tactics are proverbial “magic silver bullets”, there are a few steps you can undertake to increase your chances of success (and ROI.)

Review Last Year’s Successes

Some marketing strategy works better then others with multiple variables impacting the outcome. Begin your marketing strategy development by reviewing what has worked, what has not and what has promise if improved. It’s important to define whether a program works by developing performance indicators and then throughout the weeks, reviewing those indicators to determine marketing successes. On an annual basis, take a deeper look at why some programs have worked while others have not. Repeat successes, improve those with potential and remove those that have not worked. After a few years, you will have a foundational marketing program that you can forecast and measure. Then you can begin to add in the occasional one-off idea that may emerge through the year.

Adopt a Test, Track, Adjust Attitude

A common mistake made by businesses when adopting new marketing strategies is that they create a plan, execute, then wait until the end of a program to evaluate effectiveness. This hands off approach, specifically in today’s world of internet promotion, can be costly in both budget and lost knowledge. At Plumb Marketing, when we develop a new marketing strategy program, we often start small, monitor constantly and tweak the program until we have it dialed in for maximum success. By embracing smaller test markets, focus groups and sampling campaigns based on personas, you may spend a bit more per unit of ROI initially. However this allows you to begin to dial in on strategies that you can scale up and present to the masses.

Budget and Allocate Resources

Let’s face it, if you have a desire for a steak dinner but only have dollars for a happy meal, you will only walk away disappointed with results. When determining your marketing budget, a good rule of thumb is that 8-12% of your annual budget should go towards marketing programs with a similar ratio on expected ROI. If you are launching a new product or service, the spend could be as much as 15-20%. For example, if you want to generate an additional $200,000 in revenue from a marketing program, the promotional spend should be at least $20,000. By reviewing resources and goals, you can then begin to see what types of marketing strategy programs will provide desired results and at what investment.

Consider All Variables

Every marketing strategy should consider the variables that may weigh on its success. If a marketing program is not working as expected, return to the drawing board and ask yourself if your marketing mix is maximized. Look at the elements of your program, such as the target market demographics, pricing strategy, product mix, seasonality and promotional placement.

Need help with your marketing strategy? Plumb Marketing has created thousands of successful campaigns over our 20+ years. Get started today by downloading our 19 Strategies to Increase Your Sales today!

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