We are officially one month into 2019. We’ve washed the sand from our clothes, the kids are going back to school, and it’s time to get back to work!
Personally, one of my favourite parts of the start of the year is planning. Planning content, brainstorming campaigns, and simply putting pen to paper to get the wheels turning.And so, in this blog we will walk you through that process, complete with a free download of our 2019 Marketing Calendar.
In this blog you will learn:
- The 6-step process for planning 12 months of campaigns
- The tips and tricks we’ve learned from years in the business or eCommerce marketing
The 6 Step Process for Campaign Planning
Sorry, not part of the 6 steps…but you will need to download the calendar before working through the rest of the blog!
Step 1: Narrow Your Focus
At the start of a new year, we are often full of big ideas and grand plans for success. We’re not trying to tell you to stop dreaming big, but we would recommend narrowing your focus.
Unless you’ve got a huge team with endless resources, you won’t be able to put out a campaign for every public holiday and promotional event – it’s just not realistic, mind you it would be total campaign overload!
Let’s start by narrowing our focus:
- What promotional holidays drove large traffic or engagement with your brand last year – It’s time to dig into Google Analytics
- When does it make sense for your brand to discount? – Don’t get caught in the rat race and feel you need to be constantly on sale. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Vogue Shopping Night, Boxing Day…..there’s a helluva lot so pick when (or if) you really want to discount.
- Where do your values sit? Some of the promotional holidays are politically charged; take Australia Day and Melbourne Cup for example. Do you want to make a statement of solidarity on these days? Or avoid them completely?
Believe it or not, you don’t need to do it all. Start by narrowing your focus so you don’t feel overwhelmed!
To do: Mark out the periods on your calendar where you will be running campaigns – don’t worry we will get into the nitty gritty soon!
Step 2: Set Your Startline
The most common mistake we see businesses make with campaign planning is the failure to set a start line. They jam pack their calendars, without a second thought into how long each campaign will take to execute and implement.
So what is your ‘start line’? It’s practically your trigger date for when you need to start focussing on campaign creation, it may be a few days, weeks or even months, out from the actual campaign launch date.
Start lines help your team (or yourself) understand the workload for the year and will take the last-minute-panic out of campaign execution.
To do: Consider/discuss with your team how long each campaign will take to put together, make these periods on your calendar (and any digital calendar you might use).
Step 3: Look for Downtime/Overtime
If you are in the habit of planning month-by-month you are missing out big time. Being able to see the blueprint of your year at a glance gives you the opportunity to not only see where the team may be overloaded with too many projects but also, your room for opportunity – eeep so exciting!
To do: Are your timeframes too tight? Consider dialling back a campaign on scrapping it completely. Are you staring at a few blank weeks? Let’s brainstorm some great ideas to fill them with.
Step 4: Plan Your Campaigns
Yay! We’re finally up to the fun part. Planning and brainstorming is always best with a team, but if you’re alone just make sure you take extra effort to validate your ideas.
When we work with businesses we use the Design Thinking method for campaign ideation.
To do: We would highly recommend using Design Thinking to truly consider what your audience will engage with and start really fleshing out your campaigns.
Step 5: Set Your Goals
What is the purpose of each campaign? Are you trying to build your email list? Encourage conversions? Sign-ups to an event?
Define your goals and use the SMART goals method to put them to paper. As you go through the year you may find yourself revising your goals to suit your business trajectory.
To do: Use the S.M.A.R.T Goals method to set some specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely goals for each of your campaigns.
Step 6: Get to Work
Sorry, we can’t do it for you!
We would recommend blocking out a full day in your calendar to lock yourself and the team, in a room with plenty of coffee, stickie notes and sharpies, to let those creative juices flow!
Lastly, remember you can plan until the cows come home, this will never stop the unexpected from happening. Be prepared to be thrown a few curveballs throughout the year, and if you need to remove or cancel a campaign that is a-ok!
You can be both a proactive and agile – in fact, they’re the perfect combo!
If you would like any advice, or need an extra brain for campaign planning you can book a 15- minute expert strategy session here!
Best of luck!