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3-Step Planning Guide: Developing a Successful Marketing Strategy

Every great advertising campaign stems from a strong strategy. Putting that strategy together is a thoughtful process. Start by following these three easy steps to reap positive rewards throughout the year.

  1. Review last year’s strategy and optimize.
    What worked and what flopped? Why? Take an honest look at how your program performed last year. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, so if certain elements resonated well with your targets, consider if they have enough legs to help your strategy this year. However, strategies are meant to be fluid to adjust to market changes and audience needs. Part of the “year in review” should be to update the goals and objectives, as they have likely changed a bit. The better defined the goals and objectives, the harder the plan will work for you. You need to optimize all year long.
  2. Consider new trends in the industry.
    Technology is impacting the way industries are evolving — including the pace at which they are evolving — and it’s important to be cognizant of the implications for your business. These trends will dictate a variety of elements in the marketing strategy, including audience preferences for how and where they are consuming media. Events like mergers and acquisitions, federal regulations and breakthrough innovations can shift the direction of the market significantly, and consequently, impact how well the audience will be receptive to your messages.
  3. Gut check your targets and key messages.
    Take some time to evaluate your audience personas and invest resources to ensure you still have a strong finger on your targets’ pulse. With industry shifts, customer behaviors and attitudes can change, so we want to be sure the marketing program being designed for next year will still be relevant. While your fundamental messaging may not change drastically, it will be important to update nuances as appropriate. This may seem like a minor point, but the messaging will carry through all tactical executions, so having the right messaging for your targets is imperative for a successful year.

As 2014 winds down, use this guide to refresh your marketing strategy for next year. Remember the importance of your audience, and use industry trends and the successful parts of your current plan to offer a fresh perspective on your strategy.