You’ve made it halfway through 2021, the strangest year since 2020. And while it’s a good idea to review your marketing strategy periodically anyway, the upheaval caused by the pandemic has made revisiting your plan even more vital.
Of course, if you haven’t quite gotten around to developing a 2021 marketing strategy yet, it’s never too late to start (no judgment — it’s tough enough to adjust to the idea of putting on hard pants again, let alone figure out how to navigate the “new normal” of marketing). But assuming you started the year off with at least a basic plan of action, now is the perfect time to take a look at your progress, re-evaluate your tactics and make adjustments as needed to keep yourself on the path to success.
Why It Matters
No matter how strong your initial marketing plan is, circumstances change and efforts don’t always deliver the results you expect. Over time, and especially now, your audiences’ perspectives may shift, your organization’s goals may evolve, and the resources and opportunities available to you may vary.
By taking the time to re-assess your strategy, you will be able to stay on top of new trends, stop efforts that aren’t working, focus more attention on efforts that are working and ensure that every dollar of your marketing investment continues to get you closer toward achieving your goals.
What to Consider
While the specific metrics you evaluate will depend on the types of marketing efforts you’ve implemented and your individual goals, there are some basic questions it’s helpful to ask yourself as you revisit your marketing plan.
- How much progress have I made toward my goals? Are my goals still realistic and appropriately challenging? Are there different goals that are now more relevant to my organization’s success?
- Am I successfully reaching the audiences I need to connect with to achieve my goals? Are there different/additional groups my organization would benefit from reaching?
- Are my marketing messages inspiring the desired actions/opinions from my audiences? Do I need to modify my messages to adapt to changes in my audiences’ desires, shifting cultural contexts, updated products/services, etc.?
- Are the marketing vehicles I’ve implemented delivering my messages to my audiences effectively? Are my audiences’ preferred methods of communication changing, and if so, will my marketing campaign still reach them? Are there new vehicles available to me that would be beneficial to implement?
- Is my marketing budget allocated toward the most lucrative efforts, or should I shift my investments away from certain areas to focus more on other opportunities? Would I benefit from increasing my budget overall, or can I get away with spending less?
Think of it like this: No matter how great a meal starts out, if it sits forgotten in back of the fridge for a few weeks, it’s probably time to toss it out. The same is true for marketing. As you review your strategy, be honest with yourself, and don’t be afraid to let go of ideas that are past their prime. Marketing plans are meant to be fluid, and the sooner you make any necessary adjustments, the faster you will reach your goals.
How to Keep Your Plan on Track
While periodic (aim for quarterly) reviews of your overall marketing strategy will go a long way toward keeping you on track to reach your goals, it’s also helpful to set objectives and track results on a smaller scale along the way. You don’t have to wait for an official marketing strategy review to optimize your efforts.
With each campaign and marketing vehicle you implement, identify how you will measure success. Maybe it’s evaluating engagement (likes, shares, comments) on your social media posts. Maybe it’s monitoring open and click-through rates on your e-blasts. Maybe it’s tracking landing page visits or event attendance. Whatever metrics you choose, watch the results of each effort closely, and make strategic adjustments as you go. You may even want to conduct A/B testing to gain insight into the types of creative, calls to action and campaign timing that are most effective.
Ready to brush the dust off your marketing strategy? Whether you want to build a new plan from the ground up or make some minor tweaks to your approach, we’re here to help you succeed. Let’s work together!