The bigger companies probably finalised their 2020 marketing plan around end-October, agreeing on budgets and strategies for the upcoming year. Smaller companies, on the other hand, might not even have a plan for 2020 yet. Often, we hear start ups and social enterprises telling us that so much is moving that it is impossible to make a plan. We get that, however, if you don’t point out the direction in which what you want to walk, how on earth are you going to get anywhere and even know when you arrived? In this article we are detailing some simple steps that anyone can apply to define your marketing objectives for the coming year.

Step 1 – Define your company strategy

The first step is to define the strategy of the year. Are there new services to launch? Are you expanding to another country? Do you plan an increase in number of clients served or product sold? Are you going to support a charity? Write down your plans. Identify the resources needed to fulfil the plan and determine the revenue needed in order to fulfil all these goals.

Outcome: $ Sales Objective for 2020.

Step 2 – Build Your Marketing Strategy

If you have not yet started thinking in terms of marketing funnel, either you are a company that is not in need of if or, maybe 2020 is the year where you start working from a funnel perspective?

The “funnel” might sound very tech and scary, but we can assure you it is a good way to think about how your customers become your customers. It is the journey from becoming aware of your brand until becoming a paying customer. And the marketing manager’s job is to understand this journey. It helps you to understand how much effort you need to put in on each step of your customer’s journey in order for them to know about your brand, understand why there is a benefit and finally take the step towards purchasing a product or a service from you.

Outdoor advertising, Facebook reach ads and Youtube bumper ads are typical examples of advertising tools made to create awareness of your brand or your product. Further, EDMs, Facebook traffic/engagement ads and participation on conferences are examples of tools that can help your audience become further acquainted to your brand and increase their consideration. Last, sales meetings, proposals, website promotions or Facebook Conversion ads are examples of marketing activities that help close the deal.

All marketing tools have costs associated to them. Either in form of resource time or in form of pure advertising space dollar. The job of the marketing manager is to detail out all the actions needed and their corresponding budget.

Outcome: Actions and marketing dollars needed to obtain sales objective.

Step 3 – Do I need to rethink my Sales Objective?

Most times, the answer is yes. You might have set a sales objective that require a lot of marketing activities and costs up front. Maybe there is some adjustments to make?

You might need to go several rounds back and fourth before you are ready.

Step 4 – Plan Your Marketing Activities

Once your strategy and your marketing objective is approved, it is time to schedule the actions in the year. Set up a spreadsheet, where each column is a month and each line is an activity. Make sure to plan time for preparing of marketing assets. As a rule of thumb, smaller marketing assets like EDMs, flyers and Facebook posts might take 1-2 weeks to finalise. Bigger assets like a website, will probably take everything from 1 month to 6 months depending on the complexity of the project.

Step 5 – Get To Work

Now comes the fun part! Namely, to actually perform all the planned activities. So, role up your sleeves, here we gooooooo!

Step 6 – Don’t Forget to Measure

We recommend to have monthly marketing meetings with the whole marketing team (including agencies) to compare results and decide on further actions.

If the steps Don’t Work

We know it might take more time than you thought and maybe you will hit some rocks on the way in your planning and you don’t know how to solve them. This is why we are launching soon our Lime Zest – a complete resource platform for entrepreneurs. Stay tuned, we want to help you more!