In this article, we are going to outline the reasons for a marketing plan review, and how it can help you to make sure your marketing messages are relevant to your current trading circumstances and target audience.
You may have only recently put your marketing plan together and are wondering why it needs to be reviewed?
Conducting a marketing plan analysis on a regular basis, will show you whether you are getting the best bang for your buck from your marketing spend and whether you need to look at changing your company message or adapting campaigns to talk to new audiences.
In other words, you need to check that any marketing activities and campaigns are working!
There are several reasons why troubleshooting a marketing plan is a good idea:
- To help you to determine your business strategy. For example, is your business still in a stage of growth where you want to attract new customers? Or do you have a well-established business where the focus is on retaining your current customers, customer loyalty, and improving the customer experience?
- To check whether your products and/or services are still relevant, and whether you may need to diversify or even adapt your offering to attract new customers.
- Has the business environment changed? For example, during the pandemic, many businesses looked into diversifying or pivoting in order to maintain customer loyalty. Examples are offering a different service as an add-on; providing delivery in specific locations; adding an e-commerce facility to the website etc.
- Have you checked your ROI (return on investment) on your marketing investment? If you don’t benchmark marketing activities and the results from campaigns, how do you know what is working and what isn’t?
- Is your key messaging still relevant to your customers or have their needs changed?
- To examine your product or service range more closely to determine which have been successful, and more importantly, why?
To conduct a SWOT analysis against your competitors to see whether there may be more opportunities in the marketplace and how you can address these opportunities successfully.
Your marketing plan should be aligned to the business plan and company vision.
If these have changed, been updated, or modified, the marketing plan will need to change to reflect new business objectives and goals.
As we said in our previous blog, a marketing plan should provide you with focus and direction and conducting regular reviews will help you to achieve this.
How to benchmark marketing activities
Of course, you need to know where you were in order to assess where you are now, so how you are going to measure and record the results for each marketing activity should have been included in the original marketing plan.
Some aspects of marketing are more difficult to measure than others.
It is fairly straightforward to tell whether you have met your goal of 25% more email subscribers for example. However, other activities such as social media adverts may be a little trickier to measure.
This is where web tools such as Google Analytics can help.
Setting up a spreadsheet or Trello board to record metrics from web and social media activities such as how many unique visitors have been to your website, which pages they visited and how long they stayed there, will help you to discover trends you can target going forward.
You will also be able to see shares, comments, likes, etc on social media platforms.
If you have run campaigns linked to a landing page, you will be able to record the number of visitors and the value of sales for each one.
Comparing the results will help you to see what has worked.
Marketing plan review
Using benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of marketing activities will help to answer the following questions about your marketing plan:
- Have specific marketing activities increased customer numbers or sales?
- Which activities are costing more than they generated?
- Have all activities come in on budget?
- What type of activity has produced the best results overall i.e. income + customers?
- Which activities have been unsuccessful and which outright failures?
You need to answer these questions in light of market conditions.
For example, some changes may be attributable to a change in the business environment such as a parts shortage, postal strike, Brexit, or any other change in normal trading circumstances.
The review will help you to identify which activities are helping the business to achieve its goals.
This will enable you to decide whether these activities need to be modified to make them work.
It may not be necessary to cross them off the list. You could try some niche targeting with different modifications in each mini campaign to see what would work on a larger scale.
If a particular activity just isn’t working or producing the results you desire, you can look at alternative methods to get the results you want.
How often should I review?
This really depends on the nature of your business and its products or services, but at least every quarter. This will enable you to make swift decisions and modify plans in line with the overall business strategy.
Reviewing quarterly will also help to take into account seasonal changes, such as bank holidays, Valentine’s/Mothers’/Fathers’ days, school holidays, and religious holidays, as well as sporting occasions, heatwaves and cold spells. Some or all of these may have an effect on sales and consumer shopping habits, as could changes in legislation, taxation and VAT levels, etc.
decide to review more often depending on how long your campaigns last and so you can evaluate them immediately.
If this sounds just too overwhelming, why not book our free marketing and branding audit?
We will analyse your current brand message and marketing materials to check them for consistency and business growth. We can then determine the best course of action to get you back on track and work with you to produce a marketing plan that will deliver results.
Talk to us today about your marketing plan review and how Rebus Creative can help you to make sure your brand message reaches the right audience.