The year is fast coming to an end and it’s time to turn your attention towards 2019. If you’ve been too focused on other areas to develop your strategy yet, here are 5 steps to help jump-start your planning process and to make 2019 the best it can be for your business.

1. Annual review

The best place to start is always to review what has already happened in your business; this being your 2018 marketing results. If you already undertake monthly and campaign reporting this will provide a useful starting point. Look for key trends, anomalies, errors or opportunities missed or under-maximised. Ask how these can be fixed moving into 2019 and if necessary what needs to be adapted within the business to allow this to happen. Involve your teams in feeding back anecdotally as well, and listen to your customer and prospect feedback for invaluable insights to focus on next year.

2. ROI & goals check-in

The next step is to review your ROI measurements and tracking, and to sanity-check your goal setting. You may already have strategic goals set for 2019, for example, but are you currently collecting the right data within the business to adequately track and report on ROI? Similarly, are your ROI figures from 2018 accurate, and the most effective ways to report on results gained from the investment made? There are some areas of ‘soft ROI’ which are often missed too; read ‘5 Ways to Prove Social ROI’ for more ideas.

3. Changes and plans into next year

Thinking internally at this stage, what kind of challenges is the business facing and what plans need to be put into place? How will the role of marketing help you achieve your plans, and what successes from 2018 can you build upon here? Perhaps you have new products or services to launch next year, or your strategic goals are more about market penetration. What does your calendar of commitments look like for 2019?

4. External analysis

Some areas will be more straightforward to predict than others here, but considering areas which you can put contingencies in place for, how can your business react in the potential scenarios of the Brexit fallout? What might your competitors be doing next year that you can learn from? Are there any potential developments in marketing or software technology that open up new opportunities to your business?

5. Your 2019 marketing strategy

Putting all of this together alongside your wider business objectives will help shape your strategy for next year. Once your plans have been finalised it is important to keep them under regular review. Feed in your goals into weekly planning sessions and your ROI tracking into campaign and monthly reporting for regular check-ins on progress and to allow the opportunity to shift strategy if required. Next year is certainly going to be a challenging one, with uncertain times ahead for many, but a flexible and robust strategy has never been more critical to help keep your goals on track.

Let us do the hard work for you

We have one last slot currently available for our annual marketing review service (as of 09:00 on 10th December 2018). We’ll deliver your 2018 review and 2019 strategy recommendations by the end of the year, so you can hit the ground running in January. Contact us to find out more!