5 Steps to Plan Your Marketing Strategy for 2022

October 27, 2021
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2021 is almost over—phew! As you start wrapping up your campaigns for this year, the vicious (ahem, I mean, creative) cycle starts all over again. It’s time to wipe the slate clean and start your 2022 planning. 

Planning can sometimes seem like a daunting task, especially when you have time-sensitive priorities or just need an end-of-year break. But I promise, being intentional with your planning now will save you stress and time in the long run. To be honest, a plan is not the end goal, it’s the process of planning that is worth its weight in likes. 

So, first things first: What are you planning for? 

Your marketing strategy should function as a blueprint for your decisions in the coming year. As a result, each choice you make for your 2022 campaigns should support the concepts and the channels they will be executed in, and thus, laid out clearly in your strategy.

But wait, what if things change? They absolutely will! And that’s why your strategy will help. No matter what happens in 2022, your strategy will help you stay true to your business model and marketing goals. That’s why planning your marketing strategy now is so important. It should act as a foundational and flexible guide for the year. 

Here are five steps that will help you when planning your marketing for 2022.

1. Look Behind to Look Ahead 

The first step to planning your 2022 strategy is to step back and evaluate what worked and what didn’t this year. You can’t move forward until you take into consideration an honest assessment of your current state. Are you happy with where your sales are at? Did you meet your goals? What about your customers, do you have a good idea of who they are and where they are? Did your creative campaigns deliver the ROI you hoped?

Take some time to look over the results of your campaigns to evaluate their output and if you are satisfied with the results. What went well and where are there areas of improvement as well as any ideas that would have improved the campaign or for future iterations of similar campaigns. 

Next, you will want to perform a marketing SWOT analysis to help uncover any blind spots and aspects of your business or industry or audience shifts that you want to leverage in 2022. A lot has changed in the past year, so sticking to the same analyses from the year prior probably won’t suffice. 

2. Be a Goal Getter 

Once you have taken time to reflect on your 2021 marketing, you’ll want to start establishing some measurable goals. Taking from what you’ve learned from your 2021 evaluation, start planning your 2022 marketing strategy by deciding what you want to achieve this year. For example, what are your top three to five marketing-focused goals and what are the KPIs or indicators of success that you are or will be measuring to ensure you’re on track to hit them next year. 

While it’s a good thing to be optimistic about what you want to accomplish, be realistic. Tell yourself the truth. Setting goals that are not achievable can be defeating and reduce overall productivity, especially if you’re a newly emerging brand, take the baby steps approach. 

Make sure your goals are specific and actionable. Your goals are supposed to guide you throughout the year. Even set specific deadlines and calendar metrics reviews to hold yourself accountable. 

In accordance with setting goals, you’ll also need to determine what KPIs will help you evaluate the success of your strategy. In marketing, KPIs might be tricky to establish depending on your stage of business, budgets, and timelines. However, with any strategy, there are certain indicators that will help you stay on track to meet your targeted goals. It’s all about honest accountability. 

3. What’s in Your Wallet? 

The word “budget” alone might send shivers down your spine. That’s totally understandable. The money conversation is often uncomfortable, but 100% necessary. Here are some tips that might make you more comfortable with allocating your marketing spend: 

– Make sure you define all potential channels (ex. software, new personnel, advertising, content creation, etc.). 

– Focus on channels that align with your marketing goals. 

– Be mindful of potential hidden costs (ex. consumer insights research).

– Spend money where your customers are. This might take some time, especially at the beginning, but using KPIs will help you determine your ROOs and ROIs. 

– Don’t be afraid to change course. If something is not working the way you want or need it to, stop paying for it. 

– Ask for help. Make sure your team is aware of your budget by scheduling budget check-ins each quarter, or whenever you feel it’s necessary. 

4. Target Ain’t Just a Store 

Marketing efforts are worth nothing without a well-established audience. Consumer habits and behavior have shifted in almost every industry in the past few years. Maybe it’s you that changed—that’s great! Now is the perfect time to research if your historical target market is still your current “right” audience. It may be worth sending surveys or setting up a focus group to see what has changed. This can especially help when contemplating line extensions, price increases or reductions, or new campaigns or channels. The only way to know if it’s right is to ask and your existing audience always knows what’s up.

Talk to your customers. It’s likely that you have ways to communicate with your loyal customers. Use them. Engage with your target on social media: Set up Instagram polls, send out a tweet asking consumers for their opinions, use your comment section as a way to converse with clients, ask your repeat members about their favorite products when they drop by at your store. The options are endless! 

Once you determine where your target market lies or how they are evolving, you’ll be able to start developing strategies and campaigns that speak directly to them and therefore convert at a higher rate. And isn’t that always the goal? 

5. Flip Through Your Channel Guide 

Using the specific metrics from your 2021 campaigns, make a data-based determination about whether the channel strategies worked. Then, honestly assess market trends, industry-specific projections, and your knowledge of your audience and build out a 30-, 60-, and 90-day tactical plan. Whether you’re using complex software or a simple spreadsheet, this is where accountability for 2022 will come from. Know that this, like any other plan, acts as a hypothesis and be open to evolving it accordingly. 

Ask yourself ALL the questions. Has your market shifted? Is your audience older or younger or in a different geographic region than you expected? What kinds of content both organically and via paid channels worked best. Asking the tough questions will help you determine where to allocate your budget. For example, as the world opens back up (fingers crossed), you might decide to spend less time on digital channels and spend more money on traditional print advertising or IRL events. When determining the channels that will reach your target market, start listing out some actionable deliverables to support your goals. The more specific, the better. 

At the end of the day, nothing is set in stone. If you start executing on your hypothesized strategy and you don’t like the outcome, change it. Rework your goals, budget, target market, channels, and deliverables to help you achieve the desired outcome. 

Now if this looks like a lot to take on, you probably have 20-20 vision, because it is. Marketing is no small task but it is essential to the success of any brand. Not to worry, the team at Elevate My Brand can help. We are currently offering digital Mindmap sessions that will take you through each of these steps in order to be prepared for 2022. Contact us here to set up a meeting today!

“While it’s a good thing to be optimistic about what you want to accomplish, be realistic. Tell yourself the truth.”

About the author: With a J.D./M.B.A. from Rutgers University, Laurel Mintz has created an agency serving both startups and blue chip global brands like Facebook, Verizon Digital Media Group, PAW Patrol and Zendesk. Laurel sits on the Board of Directors for NFTE (Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship), the Women Founders Network, and the UCLA Restaurant Conference. She is a mentor for The Women’s Global Leaders Initiative and advises LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association). Her published work can be found in Entrepreneur, USA Today, The American Marketing Association and C-Suite Quarterly Magazine. Laurel and the agency have recently won the W3 Silver Award for the PAW Patrol Road Patrol Campaign, the 2017 Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award, the LABJ Women in Business Award, Comerica and LA Lakers’ Women’s Business Award, amongst others.

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