Five steps to prepare your 2024 marketing plan

Five steps to prepare your 2024 marketing plan
Lorna Bladen
Lorna BladenOfficial

Posted: Wed 25th Oct 2023

As we find ourselves edging towards 2024, it's hard to believe how quickly 2023 has flown by.

This time last year, I was digesting marketing trend forecasts, with many bracing small business owners and marketers with a bleak outlook due to consumer uncertainty. For example, a report by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising found that 60% of marketers expected the economic outlook to worsen in 2023.

This year, many firms will have needed to reassess overall budgets and marketing departments will have likely been making adjustments around price positioning or content strategies to remain competitive and relevant.

Small business owners and marketers alike, being the creative creatures we are, have no doubt flexed accordingly but as we approach the end of the year, it's crucial to take proactive forward-looking steps to ensure a successful 2024.

Here are five key considerations to guide your preparations:

1. Evaluate your performance against targets

Hopefully, you've been diligently tracking your performance against your marketing goals on a weekly or monthly basis.

With the year approximately 75% complete, a simple calculation comparing your year-to-date progress against this percentage will provide you with a high-level overview of where you stand against the goals you set out.

If you have not yet established any key performance indicators (KPIs), it's not too late. Consider setting some for any Christmas campaigns or in preparation for 2024. If you're unsure where to start, read this article for insights.

Marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience, Minal Patel, says:

"I always start by reviewing the current year – what has gone well and what has not. That means reviewing the metrics I monitor throughout the year.

"In November, I publish an annual survey to reveal what small businesses are thinking for the following year, including their learning priorities. At that point, I'll start to look at what my plan will look like, starting with what I want to achieve for the year, followed by breaking it down into quarterly and monthly goals.

"Finally, I'll plan my campaigns."

Minal refers to goal setting and I think this is absolutely key. Having goals is essential for maintaining accountability and motivation, whether it’s for yourself as a solo small business owner or for your wider team.

These goals can be campaign-based with the goal of attracting a certain number of leads or they can be revenue-focused to generate a certain monetary value in sales. No matter the objective, any improvements that you make or lessons learnt along the way should allow you to make reinvestments back in the business to enhance the product or customer experience.

2. Identify what exactly worked well using data

Take stock of key initiatives or ongoing projects that have yielded positive results. Whether it's a seasonal campaign that you ran or accumulative SEO improvements. Having access to accurate data will validate your findings.

Being data-driven and using free tools will provide more accurate insights into which campaigns have been most effective and could dictate what you do in 2024.

Emma Mackley, marketing manager at Bespoke HR, works alongside founder, Alison King. Emma says:

"I'm working on the 2024 marketing strategy for Bespoke HR as we speak. I'm reviewing all of the activity for this year, comparing our stats with the previous three years to see if there are any trends.

"Also been listening in to a lot of Enterprise Nation webinars, including a super useful session on content marketing from Anna Morrish. Next year, I am looking at a vertical market sector approach as we work with small businesses across numerous sectors and their pain points."

If you want to do what Anna is doing and compare stats with previous years, the Google suite can provide this intel and best of all, it's free to use!

  • GA4: For a full breath of insights into how users are interacting with your website or app

  • Google Search Console: For specific data around your website's search traffic results

  • Google Trends: Analyse the popularity of search queries in Google search to help you understand search intent for your industry or product line 

It is important to consider that successful campaigns may have varying outcomes, such as generating media publicity, increasing newsletter subscribers, or driving sales of specific product lines. These results correspond to different stages of the customer funnel.

If you are looking to broaden your digital marketing knowledge, Enterprise Nation works in partnership with Google to offer free nationwide events and online one-to-one mentoring to help you manage your digital footprint.

Google Digital Garage events

3. Learn from your experiments

Marketing is a continuous process of experimentation to better understand how to engage with your existing and potential customers.

Reflect on campaigns where you were surprised by the results or gained new insights into your customers' preferences. Even "not-so-good" results can be reframed as valuable lessons that can help your business evolve.

Here are some experiments that you or your marketing team could test:

  • The timing of email sends or posting of social posts: Test if there are certain times or days of the week when your content generates more engagement than others

  • Which creative creates the most engagement: A/B test different creatives in your social advertising or email marketing to gauge which format attracts the highest click-throughs

  • Impact of copy positioning: Try adding a sense of urgency or scarcity to your call-to-actions (CTAs) to see if that helps to drive conversion

These experiments can be applied to retain existing customers and encourage repeat or upselling, which is often easier than acquiring brand-new leads.

This level of research can help highlight any blind spots. Quite often getting a fresh perspective on your marketing can really help here. If you are not yet seeking feedback from your customers or marketing strategists, now is the time.

Sales and marketing consultant, Emma Meheux, advises:

"A good marketing strategy takes thought, research, time and good planning. I would recommend start planning a few months in advance and ideally using specialists to help. That could look like external strategic input across areas such as SEO, digital development and social selling."

Enterprise Nation members can access trusted support by booking free discovery calls on adviser profiles across the platform.

4. Evaluate your technology stack

The adoption of technology is pivotal in achieving marketing success, especially at scale.

AI tools have exploded this year and we’ve even been introduced to new social media channels, such as Threads.

To be able to remain competitive, it’s vital to understand how to leverage AI in your business. The price of attention is going up, so by leaning into automation, you can yield benefits, such as being more present across social media and excelling at your customer service.

Sid Khanna, director of the multidisciplinary design company Imperial Buddha, explains:

“By automating customer interactions, chatbots enhance efficiency, reduce response times, and ensure round-the-clock availability.

“With AI-powered chatbots, you can deliver exceptional customer service while saving valuable time and resources.”

Research by Google revealed that artificial intelligence isn’t just the stuff of science fiction, it could create an extra £400 billion in value for the UK economy by the 2030s.

Want to find out more about the digital opportunity for your small business? Enterprise Nation launched Tech Hub this October a new-generation, one-stop-shop solution that allows businesses to access industry-leading digital tools and support.

Paul Scully MPSecretary of State for Tech and the Digital Economy, Paul Scully MP, spoke at the event about how improving digital uptake and confidence of the UK's entrepreneurs could add £232 billion to the economy.

5. Prepare for Christmas

Christmas 2024 may be far off but it is never too early to plan!

John Lewis revealed that searches for ‘Christmas gifts’ on have doubled compared to August 2022. So plan for next year or start today for 2023 and leverage its retail sales potential.

Join us for a free Lunch and Learn webinar with Anna Morrish who explains how to make the most of the festive period to increase your search volume, keyword rankings and sales. She not only looks at what businesses should be doing in the run-up to Christmas but also what to do afterward as we enter the new year.

Watch this webinar to learn how to prepare and plan ahead for Christmas:

Final thoughts

I am hoping that taking these five steps will help you chart a course for a successful 2024 marketing plan. If you have any questions, head to the ‘Marketing for small businesses’ Group, exclusive to Enterprise Nation members.

Relevant resources

Lorna Bladen
Lorna BladenOfficial
I'm the CMO at Enterprise Nation and I have over a decade of experience working in marketing and across the small business space.  I am based in Brighton, West Sussex and I thoroughly enjoy investing my time in developing my marketing and community-building skills to support UK entrepreneurs.  I have experience across social media, digital marketing, content production, PPC and partnership building. My previous roles have included: Head of Marketing at Escape The City Head of Partnerships at Moneypenny Head of Marketing and Communications at StartUp Britain Establishing myself as a freelance marketing consultant Working pro-bono for ambitious start-ups

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