Why Your 2023 Marketing Planning Should Start Now

  • Categories:

    Marketing Insights, Brand Strategy

  • Date:

    February 24, 2022

Why Your 2023 Marketing Planning Should Start Now

Marketing Insights Brand Strategy

While you’re humming along in the execution of your 2022 marketing plans, it may be tempting to stop and admire as the marketing machine you so diligently built does its thing.

Well, now is not the time to lean back, with your hands interwoven behind your head and elbows aloft.

Now is the time to recognize that your current marketing plan is fine, perhaps above average, but maybe not as good as it can be next year.

With the right focus, you can build an intuitive, comprehensive and engaging marketing machine for 2023. So return that recliner to its upright and locked position — and as you do, consider these five foundational planning tips.

5 Tips for Forward Thinking

1. Plan Strategically.

It’s tempting to wash, rinse and repeat when it comes to marketing plans. But washing and rinsing are tactics. Make sure you understand the bigger picture — your organization’s long-term business strategy. Understand the who, what, why, how and when of your brand’s vision. Then build a plan that supports not only marketing objectives but also the overarching and far-reaching business objectives.

    While we can’t predict everything that will happen over the next 12 to 18 months, evaluating the housing and home improvement markets and identifying what you want to achieve are two key steps in your planning process.

    How you prioritize your goals will be a determining factor in where you spend your time and money in 2022 as you prepare to meet those goals in 2023.

    If you are a marketing leader in the home and building category, it is vital to understand what is going on in the housing industry. Are you getting regular updates? Is someone on your team attending webinars? Do you subscribe to Wray Ward’s blog? These are the questions you need to be asking your team, because understanding the market is the huge step in planning well.

    2. Plan Collaboratively.

    Similarly, as you begin the planning process, it’s critical to collaborate across your organization. The obvious partners in marketing planning are sales teams (to understand and support sales needs and targets) and R&D teams (to understand exactly what you’re marketing). But, as brands become increasingly inclusive and intertwined, it’s equally imperative to continually collaborate across all key internal stakeholders.

      For example, HR has become even more connected to marketing as brands infuse employer value propositions and organizational culture into all they represent. And particularly in a COVID-19 world, keeping in lockstep with operations and the supply chain is essential to creating accurate and executable marketing plans, with the right messaging through the right channels at the right time.

      3. Plan Experientially.

      It’s normal to bucket your marketing plans by audience, by messages, by channel, by KPIs and by budget allocation. But customers don’t experience your marketing that way. Each interaction they have with your brand is part of a holistic experience.

      As such, jump into their shoes when you plan, gauging not only how they will respond but also how they will think, feel, behave and perceive your brand along the way. And while you’ll still need to have the standard parameters around the money you spend and the channels you tap, you should craft your plan as an end-to-end experience, not a string of line items.

      4. Plan Through a Customer Lens.

      If you don’t continually evolve how you talk to and interact with your customers, you miss the opportunity to deeply understand them and deeply connect with them.

      So, change up how you garner customer insights. Look beyond your net promoter score, satisfaction surveys and digital analytics. Dig to discover insights that will inform how the customer is moving through and perceiving the experiences mentioned above. Delve deeper, inviting your customers to co-create ideas that will energize and inspire your planning and your brand. If you build it, they might come. If they help you build it, they will come.

      5. Plan Through Employee Brainpower.

      I talked about collaborating with key divisional stakeholders and sourcing external customer insights, but you should also tap into the “customers” who walk by you in the office (sometimes virtually) every day. Employees often are knowledgeable and willing to contribute their thoughts — they understand your products, services, customers, culture, channels and brands. If their voice is embedded in the marketing solution, they will more readily buy into the plan, be instrumental in its delivery and be accountable to its success.

        If you can incorporate these five foundational planning tips with some of the more traditional P’s (product, placement and promotion), C’s (category, competition and content), M’s (mission, media and metrics) and other letters of marketing planning, your plan will be more strategic, more robust, more grounded — and more groundbreaking.

        By giving everyone clarity with a strong annual plan, you can keep the entire marketing organization aligned, engaged and focused on achieving your biggest goals. Want further reading? Check out other recent marketing insights posts.

        Explore more articles from Wray Ward.