It might seem like we’re always preaching to the converted, but given what I see around me, I’ll go for it again.
Marketing your business is not hard. It’s actually deceptively simple as long as you know what you’re doing. But you need to know what you’re doing, and you need a plan to stick to.
Yes. Plans inevitably change, but your marketing plans should not be seen as something that are all or nothing, marketing plans can be excellent guides even when everything goes awry.
2022 is going to be an interesting year. The economy should start recovering properly, and the world will be on track to consolidating a new set of paradigms we once again call ‘normal’ . If you don’t have a solid plan for your marketing in 2022, then I’d urge you to start thinking about it pretty seriously, because your competition probably is working hard on their plans (and execution) as you read this.
Once again, even if you’re not directly involved in the marketing efforts of your organisation, you should care deeply about the efforts being made for next year because this is something that’s going to affect everyone.
With great opportunities come great innovators, and the last thing you want is to be caught off guard by someone who’s just taken their marketing efforts more seriously than you have in 2022.
So where do you start? Well, at the beginning.
What are your business goals for 2022? Unless you start here then you can’t really work on a serious marketing plan. Your communication efforts should all be leading in one direction, supporting your short, medium and long-term business goals.
If you don’t have proper business goals for 2022 (and beyond) then I highly recommend that you sit and work on those first, because marketing can’t take you in a direction that does not exist.
Take your business goals and figure out how you want marketing to support them. Even though this might seem bleedingly obvious, it’s not. Not every business has the same needs from marketing, so you can’t automatically assume that what’s good for others is good for you.
Say, for example, that you’re running a retail business and want to grow your ecommerce arm over 2022, then you need a set of milestones and figures that will back that goal. If you’d like to grow your business by increasing your average purchase value instead, then that’s going to be what we concentrate on next year.
One word of caution – don’t set too many goals because you’ll find it extremely hard to concentrate on all of them. If you want to set multiple ones, my recommendation would be to split them logically, either by giving accountability to different teams or by setting business-wide goals that have set targets, say quarterly targets, for example.
Once we have business goals we need to sit down and turn these into marketing goals and KPIs for 2022 (here’s how). These goals should have some high-level numbers that we want to keep an eye on over the next 12 months, too.
Going back to the same example from earlier – if we want to launch an ecommerce shop next year, then we need to set a target for when we’re launching it and goals for sales for the store over the months in which we’ll be operating.
If we’d like to see increased purchases from existing clients, on the other hand, then we need to figure out our current average spend per customer and break that down further to figure out where we can see gains. We will then need a plan on how we’re going to work on all the areas of marketing we can, within our budget (of time and money).
Once you have your goals set up you’ll need to translate everything into an executable plan. Planning your marketing out makes life much easier for everyone involved, no matter whether you’re working with an internal team or with an agency.
The earlier you get your plan in place, the more time you’ll have to distribute it with all the stakeholders and to solicit feedback about it. It’s much easier to change course at planning stage than it is after you’ve created the content you need to go out with. This is the time at which you’re setting your course, so I’d really recommend giving this stage all the time it deserves.
2022 is a year for change and progress, so it might be a good idea to really focus on the stuff that everyone else seems to be leaving by the wayside. I hate to use another cliche, but this is a period where low-hanging fruit is all around us, and it’s up to us to go and pick it.
Here are a few areas we’d really recommend working on for next year:
Prepare whatever you can in advance – This is not technically an area, but a practice. With the right plan in place you can prepare a lot of the content you need in the year in advance. This gives you the flexibility to prepare ad-hoc campaigns and content as and when unforeseen circumstances arise.
SEO – I can’t believe I’m saying this again, but I am. Get your SEO plan for 2022 in order because it’s still relatively virgin territory. By making an effort over the past 12 months we’ve seen leads flowing in at Switch at unprecedented levels. I’m ashamed that we didn’t take it seriously earlier, but it’s better late than never, and it also showed us that there was a lot of scope for growth in the area.
Brand – Brands aren’t delivered by storks. It’s time we had a discussion about how brands are created, and we can’t think of a better time to do so when planning a year of transformation. You can’t rely on a tactical marketing plan for your brand, because you’ll only be working on short-term goals. It’s about time that you built a solid plan for how you’ll be growing your brand in 2022.
Performance marketing – This is a catch-all term for marketing that we can measure. If you’re serious about your goals and KPIs then you should have a serious performance marketing plan for 2022. Set it up before you get into the year and make it a point to set yourself targets to beat and improve on in 2023.
So take a long hard look at where you are at the moment and where you want to be at the end of 2022. Figure out how you’re going to leverage all the marketing resources at your disposal to make that happen. If you see any areas in which you need help, reach out, there are people who can help you, but don’t shelf this. You can’t expect to grow your business if you’re not prepared to put the time and effort into feeding it with fresh leads.
In these stressful times, being aware of your thoughts and reactions can have real benefits.
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