Tips for Building your 2021 Annual Marketing Plan

Linda Johns

Linda Johns About The Author

Nov 16, 2020 3:00:00 PM

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At the end of each calendar year, businesses have a chance to reflect on the past twelve months: to take a look at what worked and what didn't, to evaluate the things they wanted to see happen, and to check progress toward their goals. This year has been a little different, but it also offers a number of opportunities to take a unique look at both your business and your customers. Are you ready to start building your annual marketing plan for 2021? Take these key tips into consideration. 

1. Reflect on 2020

This has been a unique year. Your business has seen--and overcome--many challenges that you may never have faced before. You've had a unique opportunity to get to know your target audience and their needs. Many businesses have seen more interaction with their customers. 

Others have pivoted their usual strategies to allow them to reach consumers more effectively. Consider the things that worked and the things that didn't as you managed your marketing this year. Where did you overspend? Where did you have money left over? What types of ads gave you solid, measurable results? Last year's marketing efforts can help provide guidance and input that will determine how you manage 2021's marketing plan.

2. Consider What You Want to Accomplish in 2021

Think about what you achieved this year. Many businesses have accomplished more than they thought possible or reached unexpected goals, even with the challenges they faced throughout 2020. Did you grow your business? Keep the doors open and customers coming in despite the challenges that emerged throughout the year? Did you achieve your marketing goals? Next, set your goals for 2021. How do you want to grow and expand your business in the coming year? 

Consider the platforms and channels you currently use for your marketing efforts and whether you want to further explore other platforms or channels in the coming year. Do you want to branch into TV advertising? Is it time to make more out of your social media marketing, or to branch into other platforms? You may also find that you have new ideas for creative that may take more out of your budget than past creative concepts. Make sure your 2021 annual marketing plan includes a budget that will help you meet those goals. 

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3. Create a Plan to Follow For Next Year

Once you know what worked and what didn't, and you've set your goals for how you want to proceed, you need to design a plan that will help you get there. Make sure you consider:

  • The cost of production
  • The cost to run your ads
  • How much you invested last year
  • What you want to see in ROI
  • When you plan to advertise
  • How often you plan to advertise 

Put together a comprehensive plan that includes all of those elements, from your budget to your timeline. Make sure you include any special time periods or promotions that you already know will be important to your business. For example, if you see a substantial increase in consumer attention during the Back to School season, you may want to focus on that time period for your business. 

On the other hand, if you typically run a great promotion around a random calendar day--free cookies on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, for example--you might want to be sure that it factors into your marketing plan. Working with a media partner can provide you with vital information about how to reach your target audience more effectively, including how often you need to advertise or where you might want to position your ads.

4. Keep It Flexible

As you create your plan for 2021, make sure you keep the critical lesson of 2020 at the forefront: it must be flexible. You need to be able to pivot your plan depending on what happens around you. You may have an unexpected need to develop more creative. You may need to adapt your ads to your consumers' current needs. With a flexible, adaptive marketing plan in hand, however, you can reach your goals and continue to provide material that will reach your target audience and increase the overall return on your investment, regardless of what 2021 might bring your way. 

As 2020 comes to an end, more people than ever are looking toward the future and deciding how they want to handle the coming year. You want to set your business off to the best possible start, and a solid marketing plan is one excellent strategy for increasing the odds that you will meet those goals. If you want to be sure that you're making the best of your 2021 marketing plan, make sure you work with a media partner who can provide you with valuable data and insights to shape your budget, your marketing plans, and your creative.

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