5 steps to take before creating your 2024 marketing plan

Naturally, the start of a new year is a time to reflect on the one we’ve left behind and begin looking ahead. 

According to a 2023 survey conducted by Go Compare, over 60% of UK adults wanted to set New Year’s resolutions in 2024 – making it the most popular year for resolutions since 2019. 

For marketers, the new year is a perfect time to craft a tactical marketing plan for the year ahead. 

Maybe you want to hit a certain number of followers on social media, grow your email subscriber list, or use your marketing activities to boost revenue. 

Whatever you’d like to achieve with your marketing, a marketing plan is the best way to outline your objectives and the strategies you can put in place to reach them.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan lays out the marketing efforts of a business over a certain period of time (often annually or quarterly). 

Its purpose is to outline the marketing activities a business will use to reach, attract, and engage their target audience and desired marketing objectives. 

If you want a strong marketing strategy, a strategic marketing plan is integral. It will enable you to plan, execute, and track a successful marketing strategy over time.

How can a marketing plan help your business?

Cultivating a marketing plan allows you to define your marketing strategy and identify the best methods to market your business and its products or services. 

Having a well thought out marketing plan can help you to:

  • Keep you ahead of marketing trends
  • Produce consistent, high quality campaigns and content
  • Align content with your business goals 
  • Keep you and your marketing team productive and efficient

If you want to create an effective marketing plan, don’t jump right in! You should set time aside to put research and consideration into your final marketing plan.

Wondering where to begin? We’ve put together a handy list of steps to take before creating your marketing plan. 

5 steps to take before creating your marketing plan

1. Reflect on the previous year

Look back at your marketing strategy from the last twelve months and ask yourself was it successful or not and why?

Perhaps you worked hard to post consistently on social media, or found a type of content that your audience were keen to engage with. 

When reflecting on your marketing strategy, don’t be afraid to address methods that didn’t work so well – you can learn from any mistakes and make this year’s strategy better than ever!

In a study by Nielson, 86% of marketers agreed that first-party data was integral to their company’s marketing strategy. 

So, it goes without saying that it’s essential that you refer to any relevant data from the last year. This will give you a deeper understanding of your audience and how they engage with your audience so you can make informed decisions. 

2. Set your budget

In 2023, many marketers saw their budget increase with company’s spending an average of 13.6% of their total budget on marketing. 

Having a set budget allows you to maintain control over your spending. 

It will give you a clearer picture of what you can and can’t do with your budget, preventing you from overspending and underperforming. 

Throughout the year review your marketing strategy and campaigns regularly, making changes if necessary, to ensure your marketing budget is being well spent. 

3. Conduct a competitor analysis

A competitor analysis can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses relative to your competitor. 

It involves researching your main competitors to be aware of and better understand their products or services, sales, and marketing strategy. 

For example, Starbucks faces competition from the likes of Tim Hortons, Costa Coffee, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts. When conducting a competitor analysis Starbucks may look at competitor price, product offering, location, quality, and customer experience. 

The benefits of conducting a competitive analysis include – 

  • Develop a deeper understanding of your industry and competitors
  • Know how to keep your business relevant online
  • Discover new opportunities for your business (gaps in the market or content online)
  • Identify new and upcoming marketing trends 
  • Help you create a strategic marketing plan and plan for growth

By knowing what they do and how they do it, you can identify any available opportunities to outperform competitors. 

4. Identify your objectives

Objectives are important because they can provide guidance and motivation for your business.

Identifying your objectives can help you and your team define goals, prioritise time and resources, and enable you to measure your progress. 

Having objectives ensures that everyone in your team is aligned and understands the purpose of the work they’re doing. This can help your team be productive, stay focused, and work collaboratively. 

5. Set clear roles and responsibilities 

Having clear roles and responsibilities is essential for performance, it will help your team to work better together and your business to run more smoothly. 

Ensuring your team knows their roles and responsibilities can help prevent confusion, conflict, and misunderstanding. 

When everyone knows what they should be doing and what’s expected of them, this can improve productivity and employee satisfaction too!

Prioritising role clarity in the workplace can contribute to –

  • Increased employee engagement and productivity
  • Higher employee retention
  • Improved efficiency
  • Employee motivation
  • Reduced work related stress

Performance management platform 15Five worked with academic experts, leaders, and HR professionals to pioneer a new method of measuring employee engagement. Their research found role clarity to be one of the 17 drivers of employee engagement, so make sure it’s one of your top concerns. 

Following these steps will help you create a strategic marketing plan that can act as a blueprint to your success in the upcoming year or quarter. 

What about when it comes to content?

According to Semrush, 45% of marketers said that publishing more frequent content contributed to their content marketing success. It was the top tactic used to boost marketing efforts in 2023, so creating a successful content strategy is essential.

As well as an overall marketing plan, why not create an annual marketing content plan that details all your content for the upcoming year so you can see if you have room to be reactive. 

As a marketing manager, having a well-thought out content marketing plan is a must. It allows you to prioritise tasks and stay organised, create value-led content based on your marketing goals, and so much more! 

Making sure you plan your content annually can take time, but it’s worth it!

Having an annual content marketing plan will help you –

  • Stay focused and productive
  • Regularly review and improve your marketing strategy
  • Encourage team accountability
  • Have space to be reactive in your marketing
  • Manage your time wisely and stay organised

Our Annual Marketing Content Plan is the perfect place to store all your ideas and help you build an effective content strategy, so make sure to check it out.


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