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Time to Think About Your 2020 Marketing Plan – Forbes

Published on 10/31/19 on

While planning and executing holiday campaigns will take center stage for many marketers this time of year, it’s also time for another annual marketing project: creating your marketing plan for next year. It’s always a time-consuming task, but worth the effort to get the new year off on the right foot. Having been through this cycle more than a few times, I have come up with several tactics to make the process go more smoothly and hopefully lead to more effective marketing strategies over time.


Every company handles budgeting differently, particularly for the marketing department. I’ve worked for companies with a strict budgeting process, involving multiple meetings and semi-negotiations with finance to secure approval for an itemized budget each year. I have also worked with organizations where the marketing budget was fluid, allowing us to evaluate different opportunities as they arose, deciding whether to take on new expenses on a case-by-case basis.

If you are working with a more structured budget process, then this likely needs to be kicked off before the marketing plan itself can be addressed. One of the biggest challenges in working with a definitive, line-item budget is remaining nimble enough to test new ideas or take advantage of unforeseen opportunities that inevitably arise. My main suggestion for budgeting is to try to include a discretionary amount that you can devote to new opportunities that come up during the year. This helps you maintain some flexibility in your marketing plan each year.

Review Past Performance

Many marketing teams start off each year’s marketing plan by replicating the plan from the prior year. Since no one wants to reinvent the wheel repeatedly, this approach makes a ton of sense as a starting point for your planning process. However, this needs to be just the first step in your planning, rather than acting as the final template for next year. Otherwise, after a few years of cookie-cutter planning, you will likely find yourself including a variety of marketing tactics that used to work, but are no longer the most effective options.

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