Originally published Sep. 28, 2020, and updated Sep. 21, 2021.
Have you ever wondered whether an annual plan is the best way to go? Long-term advertising plans frequently generate higher rates of success than shorter-term plans dedicated to more immediate results. In order to see better results from your advertising efforts, start by mapping out your strategy for the year. It helps set you up for success and it can make it easier for you to keep up with those plans over time. If you’ve been operating on a short-term plan, then consider committing to an annual marketing plan. Here are three reasons why you should advertise with a long-term plan.
1. Outpace Competitors with Annual Advertising Plans
A great annual marketing plan starts with understanding your competition and how your business compares to them. You want to differentiate yourself from your competition in a way that helps you stand out from the crowd. To help determine where your business fits in your industry, you should conduct a SWOT analysis. This will look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It can go a long way toward helping you establish your place in your industry.
Consider, for example, a healthy restaurant that has recently opened amidst a string of fast food restaurants in the Portland area. This restaurant's strengths are in producing healthy, tasty food. Its weaknesses, on the other hand, include its higher prices and slower service than other restaurants in the area. This restaurant does offer a catering service: an opportunity to deliver meals directly to local workers. Its competitors might not directly offer the same service, since they focus on a drive-through model. Its biggest threat is a sandwich shop on the corner that also delivers. With this analysis, the restaurant can develop a better idea of what it needs to focus on, and where it needs to outshine the competition.
2. Advertising Long-term Has More Effective Targeting
Annual plans often provide considerably more data than short-term plans. Over the course of the year, your customers' needs will change. Some businesses see a significant uptick in business around the back-to-school period. While others may see higher sales during the holidays. Some will make their biggest profits during the summer months, when the kids are out of school and people are on vacation.
A short-term advertising campaign might provide you with immediate data about the performance of that specific campaign, but an annual campaign can give you information about buyer behaviors that stretches beyond a season or sale. Seventy-six percent of advertisers fail to use behavioral data to help target interested consumers. By utilizing that information yourself, you can help set your business up for success. You can learn more about:
- Buyer behavior by season
- What influences your buyers outside of sales or promotions
- What new products and services are most likely to catch customers' eyes
- What platforms your target audience uses most often—and which platforms your target audience avoids
- Which platforms provide you with the best return on your investment
3. Annual Advertising Plans Are More Cost-Effective
Annual marketing plans are often more cost-effective than short-term ones. When you create a short-term advertising plan, you have to start by building momentum and increasing awareness. With a long-term advertising plan, on the other hand, you can continue to build on your existing marketing efforts. You will remain top-of-mind for your buyers, and they will have a better understanding of what your business has to offer. As a result, you will often experience a higher return on your overall marketing investment when you advertise consistently.
Many businesses also find that long-term advertising can lead to lower-budget advertising opportunities as a whole. Many media companies, for example, offer a more affordable price for long-term advertisers than they do for those who prefer to work with them for only a short-term campaign.
Achieving your business goals is a long game. Many businesses rely on short-term advertising campaigns to help raise immediate awareness. Those short-term campaigns may do a great job of letting consumers know about a specific sale or targeting a short-term promotion, but they won't help increase your overall brand awareness. Advertising consistently will provide consumers with the information they need to make ongoing decisions in favor of your business. It will also help you maintain your customer base and bring in more interested customers over a period of time.
An annual marketing plan can transform your business's success rate and increase overall awareness of your brand. Through long-term marketing plans, you can reach your target audience more directly. You will have a better understanding of exactly what they expect from your brand and how their behaviors change over time. You can also maintain your advertising momentum and keep your brand top-of-mind for consumers more easily with a consistent approach. Working with a media partner can help you develop a more effective annual marketing plan that fits the current needs of your business. This year, change your marketing perspective and create an annual plan that will help you meet your long-term goals.