As the new year approaches, it’s out with the old marketing plan, in with the new. You’ve run your campaigns, measured their impact, evaluated ROI, been given a pat on the back by the boss… and now you’ve got to do it all over again.
Just as you think you’ve reached the summit, another peak looms into view. So how do you gather your resources and push on again?
If the thought of your next marketing plan makes you feel like you’ve got a mountain to climb, take inspiration from Sir Edmund Hillary, who would have been 100 this year. Sixty-six years ago, Hillary really did have a mountain to climb: Mt Everest. The fact that he achieved his mission and, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, became the first humans ever to know what it felt like to be literally on top of the world, was a triumph not only of their resilience but of meticulous planning.
They had to know the conditions they were going to face, the avalanches and crevasses, the lack of oxygen, the freezing temperatures, and they had to be prepared for them all. They also knew that there would be challenges they had not planned for and they had to be ready for them. It’s an important lesson: not everything can be foreseen, but if you plan for what you can control and have contingencies for what you cannot, most risks can be minimised or avoided altogether.
The planning begins long before you take your first step on the mountain.
This is where you get accustomed to your environment. Start getting used to the rarefied atmosphere of scaling the heights. In marketing terms, it’s called insight. Who are your audience? What channels do they use? Who are your competitors? What differentiates your business? The questions are simple enough, answering them requires some thought. Cut corners at this stage and you’ll jeopardise your expedition.
Equipment is an essential ingredient for climbing mountains. Ladders, ropes, tents, warm stuff… So, what tools do you need to carry out your mission? Print? Digital? A bit of both? Choose your resources carefully to avoid spending unnecessarily and blowing your chances of a decent ROI, or under-budgeting and falling short of your goal.
Hillary had every part of his expedition mapped out. He knew the route and the planned stops. He knew the location of the sun-drenched Valley of Silence and the aptly named Death Zone. He knew that one false step off the path could be disastrous. While it’s rare for marketers to disappear into a bottomless abyss (literally anyway), the route map is also essential for you. How will you get from A to B to C? Where should you be when? By planning each step in as much detail as possible, you won’t get caught out by tasks you’d forgotten about or leaving things to the last minute.
Risk assessment is crucial to a successful attempt on scaling Everest. Hillary will have considered every eventuality and prepared for all outcomes. You need to do the same. Marketing plans can go out the window with the news cycle; you don’t want to stake your entire campaign on milkshakes, only to find out Nigel Farage has had them thrown at him. New events can just as easily play into your hands too. Imagine being a bucket manufacturer during the ALS ‘ice-bucket challenge’ trend. The ability to react is crucial. Build it into your plan.
Climbers keep a log of their encounters with the mountain. It all adds to their knowledge of the challenge and helps others to follow in their footsteps. By tracking and analysing your marketing activities, you give yourself a valuable knowledge bank that helps to fine-tune your targeting and tactics.
This is what climbers do it for: the moment of elation as you stand on top of that mountain and look out over the world. All that planning, preparation and effort has paid off. It’s the ultimate return on investment. Plan your marketing with the same commitment and thoroughness and you’ll get a similar feeling of elation from your ROI.
Let Clockwise be your sherpa. We can support you with the knowledge and expertise to mount a successful marketing campaign for 2020. Our team of strategists, designers and copywriters will work with you to make sure you stay on course for the top.