The Next Step: Developing An Annual Plan

July 14, 2017

by Jaynell Hogan

So you’ve just finished the Brand Development Workshop, which means you’ve done the important work of defining a unique brand position in the market. Now it’s time to develop an action plan to achieve the results you desire. The next logical step is to develop an annual marketing plan, a project that can be a little overwhelming. Fear not. With a guided approach, the task doesn’t have to be daunting.

Annual planning helps companies with established marketing budgets stay on target. Companies that make and follow an annual plan usually make better decisions, don’t overspend, and are more likely to reach their business objectives. A plan helps you avoid impulsive spending decisions from random advertising opportunities that present themselves throughout the year. Best of all, an annual marketing plan allows a company to measure results and tie them back to an R.O.I. target.

At Gazillion & One, we are planners. Working closely with clients after the Workshop to develop the annual plan is part of our detailed planning process. That process begins by establishing clearly defined business objectives and goals for the next 12 to 18 months. Next, the brand launch strategy created in the Workshop is integrated into the annual schedule with detailed timelines and production schedules for every project and advertising campaign. Planning and working ahead of the game allows a new or repositioned brand to be rolled out intentionally, effectively, and cost-efficiently.

An important component of developing a strong annual marketing plan is building a multi-channel strategy. Multi-channel marketing relies on a variety of interdependent advertising tactics (like television, outdoor, and social media) to reach your customer at different times of the day reinforcing your message as they consume different media channels. If your budget does not allow for a cohesive, multi-channel plan, the best strategy is to carefully determine which media channel will most effectively reach your target audience and dominate it.

Next we come to the message itself. These are the words and designs that will determine what your advertising campaigns look like and communicate. Allocating the time and budget required to develop the best quality advertising needs to be built into your plan. Whether you have an in-house creative department of writers and designer, or use an outside marketing firm, allow the time and resources required for a good message to be executed. There is always a temptation to save money by relying on the billboard company to design your billboard or the local television station to throw together a commercial, but this can be a costly mistake. You would never consider going to a hair salon to have just your bangs cut, a barber shop to have the sides cut, and then ask a friend to die your hair. While each one would do their best, the result would be a hobbled mess. Each component of your advertising campaign is not a solitary, stand-alone message, but a interdependent part of the entire campaign. To ensure that everything works together harmoniously it is important that the creative is developed by one team who is qualified to safeguard your brand and communicate it consistently and effectively.

A brand is a claim of distinction. How you communicate that brand to prospective customers through marketing and advertising is something that requires careful consideration. Annual planning allows you to define the end goals, identify the budget, and plan the media channels that will most effectively reach your target audience. With this plan, you enter the new fiscal year with a clear vision for where you are going and how you are going to get there.

Reaching your business goals is what it’s all about. Unfortunately a goal without a plan is just a wish.

If you’d like to talk with Gazillion & One about making the most of your marketing efforts, contact us online or call (616) 842-7000 to get the conversation started.

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