2011 Marketing Plan Series – Part 1

2011 Marketing Plan Series ? Part 1

It’s that time of year again…time to begin the process of planning for an entire year’s marketing activities.  Over the coming weeks I plan to write several posts that will help you prepare your 2011 marketing plan.  As part of this series, we will be asking readers and GCommerce clients to provide feedback on how you are planning.  I encourage you to participate in the conversation.

Where to start?  Our process begins with a summary evaluation of which initiatives worked in 2010, and which have fallen short of expectations.   The goal of this exercise is two-fold.  First, you need to identify the specific programs that are fueling your success and make sure they remain relevant in 2011.  Second, and equally important, you need to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of your marketing.  Throughout the year you should be constantly evaluating marketing performance, but this exercise allows you to reflect on “why.”  What have you learned about your customers, your messaging and the inherent value of your property? 

Marketing is a living practice, one that is never perfected.  Information garnered from trial and error, primary and secondary research and simple awareness will allow your marketing to consistently improve.  This belief should instruct the first section of your marketing plan.  From a strategic standpoint, what have you learned?  Outline specific successes or challenges that instructed your conclusions.  Talk about the implications of what you learned.  And very importantly, share those thoughts and conclusions with your agency partners and all marketing stakeholders. 

The following questions will help guide your exercise as it relates to digital marketing:

1.        What were the 2010 goals you set out to achieve?  Where the goals measureable?

2.       What was the strategy to accomplish these goals?

3.       What unexpected changes occurred in the market or on your property which affected the outcome?

4.       What programs were launched?  What worked and what didn’t?  Rank them by ROI across channels and media…any surprises?

5.       Year over Year:  Did website conversion grow?  Did website revenue grow?

6.       What messaging best resonated with your target customers?

7.       Have you seen a shift in feeder markets, customer demographics or business mix?

8.       What is your elevator pitch to ownership regarding 2010 successes?

The result of this effort will be a thoughtful introduction to your strategic direction for 2011 as well as an assurance that the initiatives that generated the most revenue for you in 2010 will be included in your planning for 2011.