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“Winter is coming”…err…it’s here, and that means one thing for marketing departments:  It’s time to start planning for 2017. But, let’s be honest, you probably haven’t started because the CEO.

If you’ve ever tried to just wing it come January, you know that can get you into trouble. April will creep up quickly and you’ll realize very little has been done. So grab your PSL, get comfy and start planning.

What will we see in 2017 for marketing?

Many thought leaders are making their predictions for marketing in 2017. Forbes is betting on personalization, better videos, leveraging the IoT (Internet of Things–a word used to describe all of our connected devices) and more social media marketing. The content powerhouses at Content Marketing Institute expect to see native advertising, influencer marketing, snapchat and mobile (among other things) lead the charge in 2017.

So how can your company stay on top of these trends?

Determine your company goals. Start your planning with a clear vision in mind. Not sure what the company’s vision is? Send your CEO this blog post. Based off that vision, what goals do you hope to accomplish in the new year? It could be greater brand awareness, more quality sales leads or higher client retention. Make a list and have them visible as a reminder to you and your team throughout the year.

Create a strategy to meet the goals. Consider the ways marketing is positioned to achieve your company’s goals. You can tackle brand awareness through public relations campaigns or improve customer retention through client follow-up and email campaigns that offer additional services.

A content strategy outlines the marketing channels you’ll employ. Will you have a company blog? (Better yet, will you add content to the blog this year?) Distribute native content in LinkedIn and Facebook streams? Send emails with video case studies each month? Your content strategy is the architecture of what you plan to do for the year, how you plan to do it and who you need to get it done.

 

Create action items from those goals. Now it’s time to dive into the work of content marketing. From your content strategy, you’ll start to map out the details. During this step, you will absolutely need an editorial calendar. If not, you’ll be surprised how quickly March will come and go while the passion and enthusiasm behind the strategy has gotten lost.

An editorial calendar sets you up for success, ensures you have the resources you need to get everything done, and helps everyone see the big picture of where content marketing is taking you in 2017.

 

Assess your budget and resources, then task out projects. Once the calendar is created, it’s time to determine how you’ll execute. This will largely be determined by two things: your in-house resources and your budget. If you have a large marketing team you may be able to tackle everything in your strategy with the resources you have on hand.

However, it’s likely that at least one part of your content strategy will need to be outsourced. For example, you may have great social media copywriters, but are they equipped to write long-form white papers? Or can someone on your team focus on video production? In many cases–from a cost perspective and a time perspective–it makes sense to work with an outside vendor on at least part of your strategy. Figure out where your skills sets are and then enlist the help of experts in the other areas.

 

Establish a tracking system in advance. This step is crucial for when your CEO or executive team gives you a call about performance. How is your marketing strategy doing, they ask? If you have a tracking mechanism in place this question won’t scare you.

Determine what KPIs will be attached to each goal you’re hoping to achieve. On a monthly basis, take a look to see how the analytics are performing. Use this data to decide if you need to make any adjustments.

Of course, Red Mallard is here to help you figure this stuff out and take on your back-burner/emergency projects. Call us today at 657.258.0015.