Best Practices for 2024 Strategy and Planning
As summer winds down and we enter a new season, many organizations are turning their attention to strategy and planning for the year ahead. A well-crafted and thought-out annual strategic plan is foundational for effective management, empowers businesses to better navigate uncertainty, and keeps companies honest with their long-term vision and values.
As most departments in a company probably know, putting forth a plan that encompasses the next 12 months can be a daunting task, especially for marketing. Therefore, we’ve included a few best practices to keep in mind when strategizing and planning for 2024.
Early Assessment & Bold Thinking
Before looking ahead, it’s always important to do a quick look back on what worked and what didn’t. Needless to say, you want to build on success and optimize or change those initiatives that didn’t quite pan out as expected or meet KPIs. We also encourage BIG, bold new thinking and never approach planning with a status quo or rinse and repeat mentality.
Marketing is not for the faint of heart and requires some measured risk in order to outperform your competition. In short, what new elements and/or programs can be introduced to further increase market share, mind share or heart share among your target audiences.
Alignment with Company Goals
Another important step when putting together your 2024 marketing plan is to ensure everything you’re proposing aligns with the company’s overall short- and longer-term goals and that there are well-defined objectives and success metrics or KPIs in place illustrating how these will be achieved. Being able to directly map back how these objectives will help the company reach its goals is extremely important to reach internal consensus faster. It will also resonate well with your organization’s CEO and CFO who will ultimately approve the budget.
Keep in mind that if you’re a startup or early-stage company, it’s important to remain connected with the leadership team to determine if any of the goals have changed as they often do from year to year. Once you’re aligned on what they want the year ahead to look like, you can go back to your team to outline the marketing plan accordingly.
Going through the proper due diligence of determining company goals will also help you prioritize and limit the scope of what you’ll be proposing for your 2024 marketing plan.
The “Right” Modeling – Right Audience, Right Channel at the Right Time
Shifts in audience demographics and psychographics based on changing trends, socio-economic conditions and many other dynamics is always happenings. Time and again, we have witnessed brands that have failed to pivot or modify their marketing initiatives based on changing buyer behavior.
As a result, re-centering your marketing around existing, new and/ changing audience landscapes can help you better reach and influence your target audiences. Selecting the most appropriate platforms is also pivotal to reaching your audience effectively.
Your choice of channels should align with your audience’s preferences and behavior. Do they prefer consuming content on social media, email, podcasts, or webinars? In addition, do continuous research and stay up to date with industry trends and emerging platforms, but don’t be swayed by every new fad. Focus on the channels that offer the best fit for your brand and align with your audience’s preferences.
For example, is your brand effective on social media, or looking to learn how it can be better? We covered that in a recent blog post, “Crafting Brands in a Noisy World – Strategies for Amplifying Your Voice with Social Media.”
When proposing which marketing channels the company should be focusing on, again be sure to leverage data and insight from the previous year to determine where to best allocate time, attention, and budget. Use quantitative data as proof points in your marketing plan to show how these activities have “moved the needle” in the last three quarters and contributed to greater efficiency and growth.
Weather the Storm by Changing Tides
Expect and accept that your 2024 marketing plan will change over the course of 12 months. Unless you have a crystal ball, you can’t predict with 100% certainty what will happen in the course of a year – markets will change, the economy will shift, and other internal and external factors will impact your marketing activities.
While it’s important to detail as much as you can given current information, there are no perfect versions of a plan; iterations will and should happen. Having the ability to be nimble and pivot when called upon will help you maximize delivering on company goals. Here are a few additional things to consider:
- Delegate – Put team members in charge of certain marketing tasks. Enable them to be the master of that domain for fast and effective collaboration when situations change.
- Budget – Changes can be a blessing in disguise. If you see some marketing efforts performing well and above others, work with the team at large to reallocate marketing dollars to that campaign or strategy.
- Work in Quarters – Keep the full-year plan in mind, but look at the next quarter or two as milestones for running and analyzing campaigns to dictate how the final half of the year will run.
At Fastlane, we have a proven track record of implementing traditional and next-gen digital marketing strategies that translate to company growth and success. To learn more about how Fastlane can help with your 2024 strategy and planning efforts, contact us or visit us at Fastlane.co, and subscribe to our FYI newsletter or follow us on LinkedIn.