Part 3: A Smart Annual Marketing Plan
At the beginning of this guide, we mentioned the importance of making deliberate decisions about your marketing. That means it simply isn’t enough to approach your marketing as needs crop up.
What are your goals for your business this year? To achieve them, you need to plan ahead. You should have a detailed annual marketing plan to keep your efforts on track and in sync with your needs.
Why a Full Year of Marketing?
Your business undoubtedly has a laundry list of items on its annual schedule—from promotions to seasonal inventory shifts. There are the major holidays, of course, which may represent sales, special events, or even closed store hours. There could be local or charity events that you sponsor or participate in. Perhaps you have a new product or service that will be ready to go on the market. You wouldn’t handle any of these flippantly, and you wouldn’t want to handle them at the last minute, either. The same should go for your marketing.
Having a marketing plan for the year means you can have your major campaigns ready to launch at the right moment to make the best impact on your customers. You can compare your campaigns to ensure you’ll reach the right frequency across channels without risking confusing your audience with too many messages at the same time. Each piece of your strategy can get the right amount of attention, both from you and from your audience. It even makes room for risk management in case the plan isn’t as successful as it needs to be and can be adjusted, or if something unexpected happens.
Developing a Unique Critical Path
At Zimmer, we believe in balancing the type of long-term campaigns designed to raise awareness about your business and educate the audience about your services and values. We create what we call a Critical Path for every client. The Critical Path allows you to dig in and focus on specific sales initiatives and promotions that you want to be highlighted throughout the year. This allows us to help you create a message that uniquely meets each of your needs while consistently establishing your brand.
Achieving Minimum Frequency and Filling Your Cup
The minimum number of times a person in your audience needs to be exposed to your message before they’ll remember it and be inspired to take action is three. But it’s important to remember that your ads will need to air much more than that in order for your audience to be exposed to it the right number of times.
Furthermore, depending on the channel you’re using and the time of year, you may need to advertise more to be noticed in the marketing noise. Depending on your campaign, you may also need a higher frequency to inspire action very quickly.
That’s why we recommend a minimum 21 52 advertising plan for radio. This means 21 spots on the air each week for the 52 weeks of the year. A 21 52 plan creates enough frequency so that you can dominate a particular station with your message or, as we say, it allows you to fill your cup. Then, based on your goals and promotional campaigns, there will be parts of your annual plan that require more spots per week.
Developing an annual plan with the 21 52 minimum allows you to maintain the right number of spots to achieve your goals—both branding and promotional—without turning your audience off.
Continue to the final chapter, Putting it All Together for a Year of Marketing Success, or complete the form to download a PDF of the full guide.