Mixing It Up: Three Tips for Rut-Free Annual Planning

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While many companies are just starting to think about Q4, at VantagePoint we’re starting to think about Q1 (and beyond). Yep, it’s already 2017 annual planning time with our clients — time to reflect on the previous year and look ahead to future goals and needs.

Last year, I posted my 8-step approach to annual planning. While these steps are the same ones I follow every year, it’s important to not get into a rut with recommending the same kinds of solutions for the same kinds of challenges, over and over again. As our audiences’ attention spans get shorter and our marketing environment gets more complex, we certainly don’t work in a copy/paste kind of world.

So how do you know when to mix things up? Try these tips.

1)      Identify areas where results aren’t where you’d like them to be.

Are your e-newsletter open rates falling?

Is there a message you’ve been trying to communicate that people don’t seem to understand or remember?

Do you have a program that used to be really successful but hasn’t had the same engagement levels lately? 

2)      Consider format. Maybe your message is valuable, but people aren’t interested in how it’s being presented to them.

It may sound like stepping back in time, but maybe your sales channel would read the newsletter more if they could take a printed copy with them on the road, or pass it around to dealer counter staff.

A copy-dense brochure may be right for some people, but a more visual infographic with the same data points might be more appealing to others.

If your customers are accustomed to receiving the same kinds of promotions from you on a predictable basis, it’s time for a new approach to reengage your audience.

3)      Take a closer look at content. Maybe the format is the right choice, but the content itself isn’t where it needs to be.

Can you use animation to liven up your videos?

Could you utilize neuromarketing principles to make your copy or design more effective?

Can you embed videos into your e-marketing to encourage higher click-through rates?

Can you get more specific and appealing with your CTAs and offers?

As marketers, we need to stay on top of what’s working, what’s not and when it’s time for a change — and annual planning is the perfect time to give this some serious thought.

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