For a long time, annual planning was the norm. Now, planning 12 months in advance is more challenging. As the digital landscape shifts on a continual basis, tactics must be adjusted on the fly to flex with the needs of your business.
So how do you forge a smart path forward without wasting time and energy? The answer: Strategize on a macro level, but plan on a micro level.
To effectively strategize on a macro level, you must analyze what your past marketing data tells you. Envision where you want your business to be in a year, and put the proper building blocks in place to set your marketing up for success -- whether that be internal team members, partners, or technologies. It’s creating a high-level playbook without dictating the exact order of your next moves.
How do you plan on a micro level? Figure out which cards you want to play first, using both the data at your disposal and a little bit of gut intuition. Some of those cards (or marketing tactics) will likely work as expected. But others will not. So in order to be effective in strategizing at a macro level and planning on a micro level you must:
Be patient, but nimble. Don’t fall so in love with your initial plan that you are slow to pivot when things are not working as planned. At the same time, don’t become so impatient that you fail to wait for the data to reach statistical significance before making substantial changes to your marketing strategy. Balance quick with smart, and know what performance indicators are your strongest signals of success.
Lean into innovation. Push yourself to think outside the box -- but don’t push non-strategic ideas simply for the sake of being “innovative.” At the heart of it, innovation is going beyond your fallback solutions and working to find solutions that are going to improve performance for your brand. Being innovative doesn’t have to be flashy. You can be innovative by simply trying new audiences or new tactics for your brand.
Be OK with being wrong. Marketing professionals are high achievers -- they want to be successful and memorable. And they don’t want to be seen as failures.
However, when marketing performance doesn’t go as planned, it’s only a failure if the team doesn’t use it as a learning opportunity. Any and all insights, whether positive or negative, mean progress for better understanding your brand and its customers. It’s time to scrub out the shame of being “wrong,” and replace it with a relentless dedication to learning.