There are various major planning times for people in business, but December is one of my favourites.  I do like a plan based around a calendar year.  There’s a lot to be said for being rested and full of energy to start implementing your plan when you get back in to the office after Christmas.

So, if you’re pleased to see the back of 2020, and are raring to making 2021 a success, here are some top planning tips for you:

Start with the end in mind

When you’re working on a Marketing Plan, it’s can be tempting to start with the different campaigns you’d like to run, and just work out when you’re going to do them.  The key is to work out what you want marketing to achieve for your business, so you can decide which campaigns will best help you do that.  And to know what you want your marketing to achieve, you need to know what you want your business to achieve.

When you sit down next December, where do you want your business to be?  What does it look like?  How many staff are you employing?  How much profit are you making? Do you want to have a great staff Christmas Party or make a donation to charity?  What personal goals do you want to be able to finance from your earnings?

Really think about all of the things that are important to you, in and out of your business, and make them into SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

Work backwards

Once you’ve got your SMART goals, you can start working backwards.  How much money will you need to generate to be able to reach those goals?  What impact does that have on the turnover you have to achieve?  How many sales will you need to make to achieve that turnover?  What could that mean in terms of your marketing?

Look at what’s worked for you before

If you constantly review your marketing activity and results, it’s much easier to understand what return you get on different marketing activities.  Once you have a clear idea of how much you get back from every pound you spend, you can make an informed decision about how much you’re going to spend to get the return you want.

Sense check

When you’re putting marketing ideas together, make sure you sense check them against your overall strategy.  Will the activity you’re thinking about appeal to your target market?  Is the message the right one?  Will it help you sell your most profitable product or service?  How will you measure its effectiveness?

Plan every campaign to the last detail

If you know what activity you’re going to be doing for the year, get it down on a calendar.  Then work backwards again so that you’ve allocated time to do all the things that need to be done to make an activity happen.  Check with your suppliers how long things will take and make sure you plan in every step.  Cross reference with holiday calendars too – there’s nothing worse that getting a plan together, only to find that the person you need to do something will be away when you are going to need it done.

It always comes as a surprise to people how long stuff can take to happen.  You might be running an event and you need to book a venue, create collateral, get invitations out etc.  Leave it too late and your choice of venue may not be available, or you have to pay over the odds for it.  Plan the critical elements in with plenty of time and you’ll have more flexibility, may get better deals and will be able to spend the time getting things right rather than rushing things through.


You can’t be an expert at everything, so outsource things if you can.  If you’ve got activities, requirements and ROI planned in, you’ll be able to plan in the budget to pay for experts to help you.  It will also free up time for you to spend on other money making activities within your business – the things that you’re really good at.

Ask for help

If you don’t know where to start with a marketing plan then chat with me about my ZHR Strategic Marketing workshop.  I can help you get clarity on your overall direction, put detailed 90 day plans together and mentor you (or a member of your team) to make everything come to life.



Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with all sorts of marketing hints and tips, exclusive workshops and helpful stuff.  We promise that we won't flood your inbox with constant communications, just for the sake of it, but would love to send you a monthly update that will be genuinely useful.

You have Successfully Subscribed!