For some companies or nonprofits, The end of the fiscal year is looming.

It’s time to create a new marketing plan for next year. This is not a drill.   Note: Even if your fiscal year is not looming, this post could be useful when you are looking at next year’s marketing plans for success.   

Whether you’re a business owner, executive director, or part of an executive team, as you’re looking ahead to the upcoming year, it is critical to set some goals, make a marketing plan as well as allocate some budget towards it.

Simply put: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Marketing plans are a must to develop at this time of year. It’s important to look at what you’ve done, evaluate tactics and prepare for next year.  

Ask yourself: What worked? What didn’t work? Did we achieve our goals (if you had them)?  

It is impossible to grow your business or create more impact with your npo without strong marketing planning at your side. It’s a tool that every business or npo needs to up the ante. A strong marketing plan is the key to stronger sales. It supports consistency- from messaging to tactics, you can’t go wrong by creating a structure around marketing your business. An effective marketing plan builds relationships. Most importantly, it helps you and your business be at the front of your target market’s minds more often and on a regular basis.

Brace yourself for budget discussions

Get ready for it- here it comes. Budget. There, I said it. Whew! That’s a tough one.  

We all struggle with marketing budgets- allocating them, defining them, making sure we have them. What’s worse is we often don’t know how much to put towards marketing efforts.

In my client work, I often suggest that a business look at allocating 7-12% of the year’s net profit towards a marketing plan. It’s fairly standard and allows for wiggle room. Depending on what your sales goals are for the coming year, I often recommend putting aside a greater amount of money for marketing because if you want more sales, you have to do more marketing. It’s just the way it works

Dig deep for your goals list

Goal setting is an integral part to creating your marketing plan for next year. Reviewing your sales from this year and looking where you want to go may seem like a no brainer, but I’m here to tell you that I’ve run into more than one business owner who doesn’t have a clue of the specifics they want around growth.  

All they know is that they just want to grow. Big mistake.

Getting specific will help you drill down to which marketing tactics will get you where you want to be.  

My best recommendation is to set at least 3 goals for your business for the coming year. From there, create your marketing plan based on your allocated budget. Get into the nitty gritty of how much your desired tactics will cost. It’s worth it.  

By setting some reachable goals, defining your marketing budget to achieve them, and by developing a marketing plan that aligns perfectly with your brand, you will be able to create the structure needed to grow.  

If marketing planning is the last thing on your list to do by the end of this month, just try to do one thing- set some goals.  

Once you see your goals on paper or white board, you won’t be able to stop yourself in trying to figure out how to get there. There truly is power in the pen. One step at a time, dear business owner, one step at a time. But don’t wait too long… the clock is ticking!

What are your goals for next year? I’d love to know.