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The Importance of Planning

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by Caterina Sullivan, on 15th March, 2016

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As the digital environment is changing so rapidly, it is essential to have a sound and solid plan in place. Planning in this type of environment is extremely critical as trends emerge as quickly as they roll out.

Important questions to ask yourself when putting together your plan, is what do we really want to achieve for our marketing plans in 2016 and beyond? What types of digital marketing strategies can marketers plan for this year? Will just a social blog post every now and then suffice? Will email marketing continue to be the preference over the traditional direct mail approach? Will taking ad space in the same industry publications really get the phone ringing? But honestly, will they? Questions, questions, questions…

As major influencers to how the industry grows and changes digital marketers are constantly adjusting tactics and creating progressive campaigns that continually change the digital landscape. New trends are evolving every minute, which makes it hard to see the lasting changes through all the noise. If you are also familiar with the digital sphere you might also be aware what worked six months ago may no longer be effective. Even what worked last month, won’t work this month. It’s this rapidly evolving landscape that makes digital specialists such a great marketing partner.

At RAW, we understand this ever-transforming environment and have the ability to research valuable information to build a valuable database of target personas, develop campaign planning, implementation and management lead reporting. As we re-evaluate fine tuning your business goals, RAW also re-evaluates the marketing plans to ensure the business and marketing objectives are aligned to achieve the expected outcomes.

With this fast-paced and ever-changing environment in mind, RAW encourages quarterly planning and forecasting, to assist in defining goals and modifying tactics to meet desired outcomes. The plan needs to identify and detail where the next level opportunities lie. There are basic elements to planning that all marketers should consider in developing a robust plan that will ensure marketing and business success:

1. Evaluate, Research and Review
Like any marketing strategy, there must be some form of evaluation. With every business plan in place, the more valuable information and data you have, the better you will be at being able to create a strategy that works. As the environment changes, the information and data, of course will vary, but the gathering of relevant information and researching will assist in fine tuning what is effective in your industries environment.

It’s important to note that this evaluation phase is also about reviewing the strategies that have been working well and what hasn’t. Identifying and acknowledging previous tactics will assist in realigning future strategies you wish to put in place. Nb* As mentioned earlier, not always what worked last month (or last year), will necessarily work this month or this year.

2. Brainstorm & Prioritise
Outside of the b word (budget that is), in an ideal world where this would not apply, what kind of tactics would you implement?
This can either be the easiest task, but for some, it’s not always clear. That’s why at RAW, we incorporate a marketing assessment to assist in identifying gaps in current activities and aligning new tactics with your needs that not always be so clear when you’re working inside the business every day. At RAW we provide a one-on-one detailed information session, offering input from our team that has a range of expertise across many areas and we offer a wide cross section of feedback and information that relate to current and future needs and plans. This assessment culminates in the development of a strategic and plan and set of tactical campaign recommendations delivering a compelling model for success.

3. Value Opportunity
As a business grows and develops, so does its plan and go-to-market strategy. Your clients, culture, values, industry and target audience are always evolving and shifting depending on the current climate. Re-evaluating these critical elements of your business/organisation is a crucial part to your digital marketing success. RAW understands the importance of understanding these goals to align with your messaging to continue to develop your brand and marketing priorities. We understand by aligning these goals, arms you with the tools to adjust and progress with the shift.

4. Strategy – Creating a value pipeline
Once you have identified the tools to arm your sales and digital marketing pipeline, it’s time to reinvent the strategy. This is where your plan really kicks in. Identifying your most important tactics for the next 6 months to a year, most important tactics from the top down will help us at RAW to prioritise our most valuable collaboration efforts to suit your needs. At RAW we value our collaboration and team effort that goes into this development phase. And by collaboration, this involves a heavy input from both parties involved in order to achieve your intended goals.

5. Refine & Reflect
Now that you have a strategy, it’s time to present your assets to your partners and or clients to engage their requirements. As all the cards will be out on the table, it’s during this phase that you will be able to refine and reflect on any changes that could be made. As your strategy has been aligned to all parties involved, this allows for all to review and make necessary adjustments based on collaborative effort. By doing this you will allow for your strategies to be achievable and open for feedback, en route to execution.

Putting together an effective plan is a lot of work, I know. But the value added is enormous, especially when it involves identifying the appropriate efforts needed to gain a return on investment, or getting that bang for your buck. In order to get the most out of this exercise, it is imperative to know where you want to go before you get there. To be successful in this rapidly changing digital space, you need to know your journey, understand the resources available inside and out, making sure each facet of your goals has value-added thought to it.

In other words, get to know your plan and know how to work it. Get in contact with us today to help plan your work and work your plan!

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