This year, “season” extended its stay in Southwest Florida, thanks in part to disagreeable weather combined with COVID-related restrictions in northern and midwestern states. Since we’re already in early June with summer doldrums knocking at our door, now is the most advantageous time to start planning for the 2021–2022 season. This allows adequate time to collaborate proactively with our clients as our teams are already working proactively to bring ideas to the table.

Every marketing plan, like the business it’s created by, is unique. And while there is a laundry list of components and dynamics for marketing directors and CMOs to consider, we can streamline the most arduous tasks (as well as add additional brains to the brainstorm) in the planning process as a planning partner to our clients.

“Big picture” thinking starts now

Let’s first talk metrics and how well the previous marketing plan performed. We have several clients who are so frantically busy right now, they haven’t been able to tell us how frantically busy they are. Perhaps, you’re in the same situation. When you finally do find a quiet moment to reflect on the effectiveness of each component in your previous marketing campaign, you will gain a lot of insight into how well you reached your ideal customers. Did you appeal to prospects you didn’t even target? Beneficial accidents do happen. What channels—digital ads, social media, direct mail, or e-blasts for example—got the best response rates?

Knowledge, as they say, is power. In the context of last year’s success metrics, we should then turn our attention to messages for the next marketing plan. The world has changed, so the new plan presents an opportune moment to re-examine our key messages for a brand new campaign. Is your brand or business reaching a milestone or anniversary? Are you adapting products and services or introducing newly created ones? Have your capabilities expanded or become more specialized? Let’s start a conversation about every “yes” answer.

Obviously, the impact of any message or new campaign relies greatly on timing. Here is another area where we can be a tremendous benefit to our clients. Since we are partners across all platforms and media, we can seamlessly coordinate the order and chronology of ads, posts, boosted posts, feature stories, redesigned and updated websites, trade show materials, company announcements and every other deliverable we can think of. Instead of calling a digital agency, a video production company, a graphic design studio and a public relations agency, you simply call us. Talk about timing—and time savings.

And while we’re on the subject of savings, we may as well communicate frankly about the topic of all topics. Budget. The 2021-2022 budget can help us make a lot of critical decisions right out of the gate. Not enough for a three-wave direct mail campaign? Let’s eliminate direct mail altogether and allocate the money into platforms where we can dominate. Digital is especially cost-effective and can be laser-focused to demographic data. Determine where affordability meets suitability. Answer whether the cost justifies the reach. Finding those sweet spots where the dollars spent overlap where we’ll find the target audience in search of goods and services like yours is the heart of the budget discussion—not how much there is in the cash box.

Season really isn’t so far away

Every year, we ourselves are mindful about why planning season needs to start so darn early—even before the summer-pattern thunderstorms greet us on our drive home. Reason is, we want enough time to be strategic. In some cases, to create campaign elements from scratch. In others, because publication deadlines require it. We need advance time to get messages and initial concepts approved with more than enough time to apply them across the tactical arsenal we’ve designated in the plan. To allow a cushion for unforeseen events requiring a pivot or adjustment in a strategy or rationale. And to be just plain responsible as your brand steward.

Iconic, fictional advertising genius Don Draper once said, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” Call or email us. And let’s shape the conversation in a plan together.