If you fail to plan, you plan to fail which is why a marketing plan for the year ahead is one of your most essential business tools. It outlines what marketing strategies you are going to employ. It also ensures everyone in the company knows what you are trying to achieve and what role they play to make it happen.

Set clear guidelines

An effective marketing plan will clearly outline your monthly objectives — that is what needs to be achieved each month to reach your longer-term goals. These guidelines should incorporate budgets, deadlines, targets, sales forecasts and marketing strategies with quantifiable objectives. For example, increasing your database is a good goal to aim for, but make it more specific like increasing the database by 1000 new clients by 30 June 2014. You would then need to list what strategies will make this achievable.

Highlight key time on the Calendar year.

Identify the important dates throughout the year that will provide you with opportunities to connect with your customers. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, School holidays are all peak purchasing times, so they are ideal times to push your products or services. If you run a financial services company, you could offer customers a special deal on budgeting advice so they don’t get into debt over the festive season. Restaurants could provide special offers to any couple that choose to dine with them on Valentine’s. Also find out when the large trade shows are coming to your area, there’s unlimited potential to reach new clients at events like the Royal Easter Show and Travel expos.

Plan for something fresh

Don’t use the same old tried and tested marketing techniques that you use year after year. Plan for a new approach to marketing. If radio advertising and press ads aren't working for get a corporate brochure, if you’re always sending out mail drops, try an enewsletter. There are plenty of ways to change things up like updating your packaging, having a new product, revamping your tired old website. Be bold, be brave and freshen things up.

For a fresh approach to your marketing or with help developing a marketing plan or strategies for 2014, call the team at X Designs Advertising today.