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Look Before You Leap: Your C.Y.A. Marketing Plan Checklist for 2016

I love fall. Football games and helping our clients develop their marketing plans for 2016! To help you avoid some of the common digital marketing mistakes, we’ve created a C.Y.A. checklist to help ensure your 2016 marketing plan doesn’t lead to disaster.

As you ask yourself the following questions, take the time to stop and really consider them. It’s easy to be dismissive or defensive, so we encourage you to take a step back and look at the question from every angle.

Identify the Problem & the Opportunity

Many marketing plans that we see lack clarity on what problem or opportunity they are trying to address.

  • Are you “throwing” money at campaigns that have a less than optimal return?
  • Does every budget line item have a current and projected ROI?
  • Are you confident in your numbers (i.e., Are they based on actual data)?
  • Are you putting budget towards things you gained new insights about in 2015 that could increase your overall return?
  • Do you know who your most valuable mature market customer segment is?
  • Does your plan align marketing and sales activities to a common goal?

Focus on Evolution, not Revolution:

Bold new directions that aren’t thoughtful conceived from real world data and testing are the downfall of many a marketing plan (and many a marketing professional).

  • Were there learnings from 2015 that you should evolve into fuller efforts in 2016?
  • If something is a new line item, do you know enough to have a strong forecast on return? If not, can you wade into it, instead of diving right in?
  • Is there a way to “evolve” an activity that might not be performing at the level you would like rather than completely replacing it? For example, if your email nurture campaigns seem to be doing worse than industry benchmarks, could you apply some budget to optimize them rather than completely jumping ship?
  • Have you allocated phases to your budgets to implement strong optimization throughout the year?
  • Do you have adequate budget to test in 2016 what your might want to go big on in 2017?

Position Yourself to Test Your Plan

Creating a culture of learning shifts testing from something that is perceived as expensive and slow to something that accelerates your cadence of wins.

  • Have you planned pilot projects for any new marketing endeavors?
  • Do you have a plan for the duration, budget and activities to be accomplished in the pilot?
  • Have you established expectations and key performance indicators in order to determine if the pilot is a success?
  • Have you planned for regular reviews of these activities and their results?
  • Which existing activities will you compare this pilot to in order to evaluate overall success?
  • Do you have an exit strategy when the pilot is complete, or if the pilot needs to end early?
  • What is your plan to roll out this new marketing activity if the pilot is a success?
  • How will you staff your pilot and/or any larger roll-out?

This checklist represents just a few of the lenses we look through to help brands developing winning 50-plus marketing plans. If you’d like more information on mature customers or marketing plans aimed at acquiring or converting boomers and seniors online, check out the resources area of our website, or connect with us personally to see how we can help you develop a mature market marketing plan that works.