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As we enter the beginning of the new year, it’s time to look ahead and determine your marketing goals and what you want to accomplish for 2019.

Establishing a 2019 marketing plan comprised of goals, tactics, and strategies helps to stay accountable throughout the year. In fact, according to Entrepreneur, those who completed marketing plans were nearly twice as likely to successfully grown their businesses or obtain capital as those who didn’t write a plan. A marketing plan is designed to be a strategic guideline with details that can be easily updated throughout the year based on campaign performance, business needs and unforeseen changes, but its structure remains consistent. It serves to give you and your team a clear view what’s ahead for the year.

Here are some steps to take for a smooth annual marketing planning strategy process:

  • Take a Look Back:  Review your marketing plan from the previous year and also break down the goals from each quarter of 2018. Ask yourself: what worked well, what could have been better, and what can we change to make our marketing successes even greater in 2019? Make adjustments based on your audit.
  • Define SMART Goals: Follow the SMART guide when you define your marketing goals.SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. The more specific and measurable your goals are, the more you’ll be able to determine if you achieved them when you review your results. Remember to make your goals realistic based off your resources and time. For instance, a good SMART goal is: Drive 25% more visitors to my business website in 12 months.
  • Create Measurable Objectives to Meet Goals: Once you have your goals, you can evaluate how you’ll achieve them. For each goal on your list, write down your objectives and tactics that will help you achieve them. A report from the Content Marketing Institute shows that documenting your objectives gives you a 538 percent greater chance of being successful in your efforts. Therefore, breakdown your 2019 goals into concrete objectives. These objectives will make clear where you need to invest your time and energy each month in 2019, and which channels, divisions, subjects, or people make sense for you to focus on.
  • Communicate the Plan: After a plan is clearly written out, it’s important to share the plan with all team members involved. A 12-month timeline that explains who is responsible for which goal, objective, or tactic ensures that all team members are held accountable for their roles in the plan. Give your team deadlines and meet frequently to make sure that goals are being attained.

In addition to helping you stay on track with your plan, retaining a marketing mindset throughout the year will help you carry out your goals as well. As long as you keep you and your team accountable with SMART goals, you will have a successful marketing plan!