If you’ve been using the same marketing plan for a while, you may have noticed you’re not getting the same growth in conversion or engagement that you’re used to.
Using the exact approach over and over again won’t always yield the same results. As a business grows, its target audience and market situation changes — meaning that new strategies may be necessary. Sometimes, you may need to completely reinvent your approach to marketing if you want to grow your business.
Here’s how you can know if your company’s marketing plan needs a makeover.
1. You Haven’t Revisited Your Marketing Plan In at Least a Year
Typically, it’s a good idea to revisit any marketing plan at least once a year, even if it feels like your efforts are going extremely well.
This will help ensure your plan is still in line with your business goals and accurately reflects the audience you currently have — not the one you had a year ago.
2. You’ve Wrapped up a Marketing Campaign or Introduced a New Offering
Many businesses also revisit their marketing plans after the end of each major campaign. Information gathered during these efforts can be a great way to tell if your overall strategy is on track or if you need to adjust some of the assumptions you’ve made.
Other major changes to your business — like the introduction of new products, a merger or a rebrand — will probably also warrant another look at your marketing plan.
3. You Didn’t Start With a Plan
If you’ve never had a plan, it’s almost always going to be a good idea to audit your current approach.
Without an overarching business plan, it can be hard to coordinate marketing campaigns over the course of months or years. Your messaging may become inconsistent, or you may find it hard to keep your advertising on-brand.
Creating a formal marketing plan can help you avoid these problems.
4. You Don’t Have Enough Data to Make Good Decisions
It’s a good idea to revisit your marketing plan if you’re not tracking metrics or feel like you don’t have enough data to make informed decisions. You can usually invest in data-collection tools or put more money into marketing strategies that generate a lot of information for you and your team — like social media or email marketing.
This data makes it easier to know if your marketing is really working or if it’s actually reaching the audiences you’re trying to target.
5. Your Marketing Info Is Outdated or Hard to Access
Outdated marketing resources or poor information availability can also be a sign you need to update your marketing plan.
When data is accessible across your company, it can help team members of all kinds make better decisions. Good marketing resources can help boost your internal marketing visibility — or how well people inside your business understand your overall marketing strategy.
For example, some businesses create color-coded maps to show where their customers or business clients are located and which regions their competitors serve. These maps can provide a quick and easy-to-understand visualization of where the company is operating and where it may be able to expand.
Resources that rely on outdated information, or hard-to-access marketing data, can have the opposite effect.
6. You Aren’t Reaching New Audiences
A slowdown in business growth could also be a sign that your marketing plan may be outdated.
If your recent marketing campaigns haven’t reached new audiences, you may not be using the best possible approach. Additional market research can help reveal which channels may work best or what kind of tone may resonate with potential customers.
Refreshing an Old Marketing Plan
Check your marketing plan by bringing pertinent team members together. Go through everything and check to see if it still makes sense and aligns with your business goals.
Ideally, you should spend time on key marketing elements, like target audience and the current market situation. You may find that your demographic has shifted or that you made a lot of assumptions based on outdated research.
For a marketing plan makeover, start by reviewing the essential elements that you’d consider when drawing up a marketing plan from scratch:
- Your target audience
- Your current customer base
- Your competition, and their audience and customer base
- Your business and marketing goals
- Your messaging and branding
- Your marketing channels and chosen strategies
- Your marketing budget and current spend
If you can’t work out what your current customer base looks like, or you don’t know what your competition is doing, you may want to start your marketing makeover with some extra research.
Next, you can update your business goals. If your company has grown significantly since the last time you updated your marketing plan, your aims have likely shifted somewhat. You may need to adjust your strategy to match. Consider including new regions to expand into or fresh audiences that your business may target over the next year.
You can tweak your messaging and branding strategy to match your new goals, as well as your updated understanding of your current audience.
For the rest of the elements in the list, you can use the information you’ve gathered on your audience to make adjustments as necessary. For example, you may have found in the past that people preferred email communications — but your current audience may respond well to a mix of email and social media marketing.
Finally, review your marketing spending. You may find areas where you can reorganize your budget — removing funds from approaches that no longer work and increasing spending on techniques that are more likely to capture new customers.
Rejuvenating Your Business’s Marketing Plan
An old marketing plan can hold a business back. Outdated research or a lack of new information can make it much harder to create new campaigns or make good decisions.
If you haven’t revisited your marketing plan in more than a year or feel like you’re not seeing the growth you expect, it may be time to refresh your approach.
Eleanor is editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.