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Revisiting Your Annual Marketing Plan

Jun 17, 2024

Optimize Your Marketing Plan for Second Half Success

As we hit the halfway point of the year, it is a necessity to revisit that marketing plan you and your team spent countless hours creating at the end of last year. The world is ever changing, especially within marketing, where trends, platforms, and consumer interests are always evolving. More importantly, you will have access to your current sales and revenue data, as well as your marketing key performance indicator (KPI) reports, to evaluate success.. All of these are some of the many reasons why it is important to take a step back mid-year and assess your marketing plan, how it is performing, and what is on the horizon in order to ensure a successful back half of the year.

Throughout this blog we will cover the steps for revisiting your marketing plan, including assessing performance, analyzing the market, assessing key messaging points, updating channel strategies, and creating an action plan.

But before we dive in, we suggest taking a trip back to our previous blog about crafting your annual marketing plan for a few reminders about the process and why we create these plans.

1. Assessing Performance Against Goals

Before you even begin to make any updates within your marketing plan, it is important to take a look back and assess the performance of your marketing initiatives against the KPIs you had set when developing your plan. These KPIs could include sales, website traffic, social media engagement, or one of many other metrics that may relate directly to your business and marketing efforts.

Comparing current performance to original goals and industry benchmarks allows you to gauge success and identify areas needing improvement. This comparison highlights strengths and uncovers weaknesses, enabling strategic adjustments. Understanding these insights is vital for refining strategies and driving continuous improvement.

2. Analyzing Market Changes

While pulling metrics and reviewing KPIs for your marketing initiatives, it is beneficial to look at your specific market or industry as a whole, along with performing an updated analysis of your competitors. Reviewing any market updates and analyzing your competitors will allow you to not only determine any holes you may have in your current plan, but also to see where you may be outperforming competitors. Utilizing tools such as Kantar, which measures media share of voice, and Cision for publicity, will further help gauge your standing within the market. 

Understanding your competitors' strategies and performance can offer valuable insight into market changes and potential opportunities. If competitors are gaining traction with specific tactics, consider incorporating similar approaches into your strategy. Conversely, if competitors are struggling in certain areas, analyze why and avoid similar pitfalls. We’ve recently encountered this with a food service client, specifically in their menu offerings. We noticed competitors were offering more combinations and customizable lunch options  which we have now also adopted in the menu to gain a share of this lunch market.

There are many tools at your disposal for determining this analysis including Google trends, social media analytics, market research, and most importantly, your marketing agency who is constantly keeping an eye on these items throughout the year.

3. Revisiting Messaging

Now that you have taken a look at the data, the market, and your competitors, it’s time to delve into what’s working and what may not be working, specifically in your marketing message. When evaluating your messaging, it’s important to see which messages the audience is engaging with the most. You could even take this further with direct consumer feedback.

Additionally, consider implementing A/B testing to compare different versions of your messaging. This method allows you to test copy and visual variations and to inform your decision making by evaluating engagement and conversion rates within your target audience.

When revising your message, keep in mind that even minor changes may help immensely. These adjustments could range from simply updating word choice, tweaking tone of voice, or creating more urgency in your consumer-facing copy. Ensure these changes also reflect any shifts in market conditions or consumer preferences to maintain relevance and impact.

4. Budget and Resource Allocation

While it is recommended to always keep an eye on your budget, this time of year is perfect to look at everything cohesively and determine changes for the remainder of the year.

Your starting point when reviewing the budget should be to check your current spend against the planned budget while also looking into your revenue and sales goals. This review helps identify areas of overspend or underspend, ensuring financial efficiency. 

After determining where your budget stands, it is recommended to review your tactics, budget, and performance as a whole. By completing this, you can decide whether you’d like to move dollars from one tactic to another high-performing tactic.

Our team has recently encountered this with one of our medical clients as they are planning to open an additional practice location in the second half of the year. With an additional location opening up, it’s our role to work with the client and make sure resources are allocated correctly in order to ensure a successful grand opening while also making sure the existing practices are still effectively marketed.

Your business also may experience seasonal peaks and valleys, so preparing and planning out budget allocation can only help your marketing efforts that much more.

5. Updating Channels and Tactics

As we all see throughout the year, platforms—especially social media—are always changing and optimizing. Take Tik Tok for example. Once it began to surge in popularity, brands began to scramble to see how they could fit this new platform into their marketing plans on the fly.

This is not about adding new tactics or channels to your plan, as you should evaluate everywhere you spend your marketing efforts and if it is effective for your brand. Understanding which channels yield the best results helps to make informed decisions about where to allocate resources.

The back half of the year can also be used for experimentation and to help inform decisions for your next marketing plan. New technologies and strategies are constantly being introduced, so it is always recommended you dip your toe in the water and investigate these before making significant financial investments. This experimentation can lead to innovative approaches that set your brand apart from competitors.

6. Setting Action Plans

It is now time to begin putting all of your research and adjustments into development and begin revising your marketing plan. Setting clear and actionable next steps will help all parties know what is to come and who is leading any specific initiatives. Setting specific timelines and roles helps further ensure accountability across the board in producing an effective plan.

Evolution and innovation are constantly happening whether in your specific industry or in marketing as a whole. This is important to keep in mind to make sure your business is adapting and not being left in the dust by your competitors. Taking a step back and evaluating where you stand and where you’d like to be by the end of the year is important in implementing effective marketing.

At Pyper Inc., we thoroughly believe in putting in the time to plan strategically. If you feel like your business is in need of a marketing plan, contact us today!