Planning in Uncertainty: Tips for Developing a 2021 Marketing Plan

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The business world – like everything else – has changed significantly in the last year. While we don’t know what the future holds, it’s critical to continue your firm’s PR and marketing efforts to increase visibility and bring in business. Before you apply the “we’ll take it day-by-day” approach that many businesses adopt, consider developing an actionable marketing plan to guide you through this year. Here are a few things to keep in mind when developing a plan.

Incorporate Adaptability

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to stay light on our feet and be ready for anything. Unfortunately, 2021 doesn’t promise to be much different – at least not for right now. As you put together your marketing plans and budgets for the upcoming year, it’s important to also create a contingency plan that takes into account possible pivots. Be prepared to adjust budgets based on impact. It’s critical to understand which marketing activities are essential versus those that you could afford to decrease, or cut entirely.

Understand the Evolved Digital Environment

As many face-to-face interactions remain on pause, digital marketing will occupy an even larger slice of marketing plan pies for 2021. However, just having a digital presence is no longer enough. New technologies and trends are being added to modern marketing plans, including advanced search engine optimization options. If you want your marketing message to resonate with your target audiences, you need to continuously adapt it to their current preferences and the latest digital trends.

Make the Most of Integrated Communications

Don’t put all of your marketing or PR eggs into a single basket, doing only media outreach or focusing solely on delivering podcasts. Instead, take a “surround sound” approach, combining various tactics (social media + media + podcasts + speaking, etc.) and align your messaging across these channels. That way, prospects will read about you in the newspaper, see your social media content, and hear you speak in a webinar. Through each of these touch points, your key audiences will receive your consistent, compelling messaging that drives them to action (e.g., contact your firm, visit your website, like and share your social post).

Keep Your Eye on ROI

According to a recent study, 70% of marketers say their budgets have been cut as a result of the pandemic, yet despite these limited budgets, more than three-fourths of them are feeling added pressure to deliver leads. When developing your marketing plan for 2021, be sure to allocate funds for investments in the tools and talent you need to analyze your efforts and performance across various campaigns. Once you have the tools in place, determine your metrics and measure against them monthly or quarterly. This will allow you to keep your plan fluid – adjusting to remove what’s not working and capitalizing on what is.

Tailor Your Plan

When it comes to developing your marketing plan for 2021, a simple cut and paste just won’t do. There’s no telling when or if we’ll ever get back to where we were, so take the necessary time you need upfront to incorporate these tips when developing your plan. Then be ready to change it as often as needed. Remember, with change comes new opportunities!

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