The Case for Strategic Marketing Planning

Strategic Marketing Planning, strategic marketing, marketing planning

With 2016 almost upon us, we here at Katana are thinking a lot about planning. Most companies restrict planning to either the end or the beginning of the year. This annual process is designed to see where the company has been, figure out where they want to go, and create the major roadmap to get there.

While this type of planning may work for many business segments, the digital marketplace is changing so rapidly that annual planning often translates into missed opportunities. To stay competitive, marketers would do well to engage in quarterly planning and review.

Benefits of Quarterly Reviews

We know people might be groaning at the thought of another meeting, but waiting until the annual review/planning meeting only allows marketers to review what did or didn’t work. It doesn’t allow time to make changes as campaigns are occurring.

While initial strategic plans are necessary, they shouldn’t be static. Instead, strategy should shift as new opportunities arise and new data is collected. Data analysis allows marketers to see which campaign tactics are or are not being effective in real time, and shift accordingly.

Planning also needs to take new technologies into account as they enter the market. No SEO marketer would wait until the following year to respond to a Google algorithm update. Instead, they pivot based on the new data and guidelines. Marketers also shouldn’t wait until the next year to try using a new technology that could improve conversions and ROI.

Beyond technologies, new channels are always emerging, which means new ways of reaching potential customers. Marketers need to remain up-to-date on ways to stay in front of consumers. New platforms may even improve budget efficiency. For example, if marketers discover that a newer platform works better for them, then they can assess performance and remove underperforming vendors and platforms.

Recent Industry Changes

There have been some major industry changes this year of which marketers should be taking advantage – or at least beginning to explore. Responding to these trends shouldn’t be restricted to once a year. Major changes include:

    • The Rise of Programmatic Video Advertising: While it still lags behind display advertising, programmatic video advertising is rapidly growing, despite the obstacles. Programmatic advertising is “an automated, technology-driven method of buying and selling digital display advertising” that allows “both buyers and sellers who see the value in using it to reach screen-agnostic audiences”.
    • Programmatic TV Advances: Though still early stage, new technologies – especially online streaming –  are allowing marketers to change the way they market on television. Programmatic advertising is making its way into one of the oldest forms of modern communication.
    • Mobile Programmatic Display Advertising Spend Growth: With the rise of new programmatic markets, it’s no surprise that mobile programmatic display advertising was also a major trend this year. In fact, an eMarketer report indicated that mobile programmatic ad spending will reach nearly $10 billion this year, and that the platform will outpace desktop spend.
    • Cross Channel Marketing Advances: Over the past few years, technology has made it easier to market across multiple channels simultaneously with individualized messages. This ensures that the audience that you’re intending to reach is being targeted on the channels that they’re using and that they are receiving the messages that will most address their pain points.
    • Advancements in Audience Segmentation: Advertising targeting has drastically improved over the last year. Now, segmentation by interests, buying history, location, etc. is much more refined – improving campaign ROI and efficiency. For example, advertisers using AdWords can now build online audiences using their current email lists and target both those audiences and audiences with similar profiles.
    • New Players on the Scene: Many companies have released new technologies that have changed the marketing ecosystem. Livestream.com now allows regular people to create and share livestreaming video. Public Radio Exchange is allowing podcasters to distribute their shows online.

These are only trends for 2015, and change isn’t likely to slow down next year. You don’t want to get to the end of the year and realize that you’ve missed out on a great opportunity.  Instead, institute quarterly review/planning meetings – even if they aren’t as long as the annual one. Short check-ins throughout the year can ensure that you are planning for continued success.