When we are creating marketing plans for our clients, we most typically start by building a framework – the “broad outline” of where you’re headed. But then you need to make sure your marketing plan includes enough nitty gritty details to be specific to your business and your marketing needs. Here are a few of the most critical areas to spend your time:

Define the Target Audience. Who are you trying to reach? Is it more important to retain your customers or reach new customers? What are your customers trying to do? What would they like to happen? Do you know their problems or issues?

Messaging, Messaging, Messaging. What do you want to convey? It is so important that you articulate your value proposition in the most clear, compelling, and relatable way. Various content pieces are how you hook and educate leads, educate and retain customers, and persuade prospects.

Determine Your Channels. How are you going to reach your audience with your message? There are so many options, from emails to your websites to social media, and from advertising to community participation to events. Where is the best place to reach this particular group?

Determine Timing (but Be Flexible). Set up a marketing calendar to help you stay on track with announcements, promotions, and content, and so that you balance your customer touches throughout the year. But don’t be rigid — if the product team falls behind on a launch, the advertising and customer outreach may be shifted later than originally planned.

Budget. The budget piece is not everyone’s favorite; however, it’s one of the most important. How much are your efforts going to cost you? (This is also a good time to evaluate marketing successes and failures from the previous year. If a marketing effort flopped, you may want to divert dollars to an area of outreach that bore fruit.)

Once you’ve got a plan, you’re ready for January! Then you can jump into 2019 ready to implement.

Look for our previous article, It’s Almost 2019 – What’s Your Plan?