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Six Steps to Creating Your 2021 Marketing Plan

As we flip the calendar to a new year and try to put 2020 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look at the opportunities that lie ahead and think about your marketing strategy for 2021.

At Michael Mackenzie Communications, we use a six-point planning process with our clients that is carried through every month of the year:

  1. Year in Review – Which marketing tactics worked well in 2020? Which ones didn’t? Before you decide where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve been and where you are now. Be honest in your review. It’s likely that not every marketing tactic was a home run, and that’s okay.
  2. Develop Organizational Goals – The goals you set for your company will drive everything else. It’s important to understand the big picture before you can drill down on the details. Be sure your goals are SMART:






  1. Determine Objectives, Strategies and Tactics to Support Your Goals – Your marketing objectives, strategies and tactics are the tools you’ll use to achieve your goals. They are the “meat” of your plan. Objectives are things like increasing the percentage of referral business you receive and increasing brand awareness. Strategies include the methods by which you’ll reach your objectives including content marketing, public relations, social media and SEO. Tactics are the actions and tasks – the tangibles – you will execute such as blogging, running email campaigns, posting to social media platforms, publishing case studies and white papers, speaking at industry events and the like.
  2. Re-evaluate Your Target Audience – Solidifying your target audience could really be part of determining your objectives, strategies and tactics – a “3A,” if you will. When you’re developing your strategy and tactics, it’s important to know who you are trying to reach with your marketing messages. Depending on the goals and objectives, your target may change, albeit slightly, year-to-year. Do you know who you are trying to reach? Where do they get their news and information? How can you best connect with them?
  3. Prioritize and Budget – It’s easy to get carried away by the possibilities when laying out your marketing plan. Don’t forget to tie everything back to your budget. It is unlikely that you have an infinite budget to tackle your entire marketing wish list. Consider your overall goals, target audience and available resources to help you narrow down to the tactics that will be most effective for you.
  4. Put Your Plan on Paper – We create a one-page grid that documents a client’s goals, marketing objectives, marketing strategies and tactics. This ensures that we are all literally working from the same page. We re-visit the grid in our monthly marketing meetings. The great thing about a plan is that you can always change it and having it on paper puts a stake in the ground from which to pivot when necessary.

 Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” As 2020 proved to us all, the best laid plans are always subject to change. Having a marketing plan in place is good business, even (or especially) when there is uncertainty about what the future may hold. All the best in 2021!

This post is courtesy of MMC Account Manager Jen Kardian

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