The end of 2018 is coming, and everyone is looking to Christmas, snuggling up inside on cold days, and put their feet up to the end of the year.

Well, not for us marketers!

As a digital marketing agency, we’re not just winding down our plans for 2018, but we’re already looking ahead to our marketing strategies for next year. 2019 brings its own set of issues with Brexit looming and so much still unknown. Next year is a tipping point in marketing, consumer behaviour is changing and it’s a more experiential time for marketers. So how can brands plan for next year whilst considering the upcoming challenges?

First, Look Back

One of the most important starting points is to look back at what you did last year. By a full analysis of your activity, you can get a comprehensive view of what worked and what different marketing channels have proved the best way to reach your audience. It’s also a time to assess what hasn’t worked. Where some channels haven’t worked, you know not to devote too much time to in the coming year. Avoid past mistakes and repeat proven success!

A few questions to as yourself are:

  • Did you achieve the desired results from your marketing efforts?
  • Which specific marketing initiatives were effective? Which initiatives were not effective?
  • Should you reallocate resources to better performing targets, markets, or marketing tactics?
  • Has your target market or audience changed over the year?
  • How could you streamline the way you collaborate with people outside of your team?

Another way to assess where you stand is to do a SWOT analysis. If this is not something you have done before, the acronym refers to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of where you are as a business, you can find ways to combat for the weaknesses and work to your strengths. Looking at the opportunities available to the business, and preparing for what threats could be coming up over the next year leaves you fully prepared when looking to the year ahead.

Brexit is certainly a big threat to consider in the year ahead. With so much still unknown, however, it’s hard to plan for. The best way to tackle the year ahead is to keep coming back to your plan and look at what’s working and what’s not. An audit of your marketing strategy when things with Brexit seem more certain may help tackle any affect it might have on your business. Keep checking in, keep analysis and keep learning.

Then, Look Outward

With Brexit looming, companies that work with the EU are foreseeing a possible dip in profits, or re-working out their existing relationships with those companies. Its important for companies to look beyond the EU when assessing their marketing strategy, and consider international expansion in a different light. Marketing may need to spread beyond just UK and European shores. Successful marketing in other countries depends on the needs of those individual target markets. Researching the countries you would like to make some waves in and what marketing strategies will work best is a great way to be prepared for the year ahead.


By looking at last years marketing plan, and planning out your objectives, it will give you a good idea of how to plan your budget. Brexit is likely to have a massive effect on marketing budgets. Many companies are tightening the purse strings in preparation for a possible loss of business if the economy becomes rocky. Often, the first budget to get slashes is a marketing budget, which can make marketing even harder. For this reason, it’s not just a case of assessing which areas give you the best results, but also the best ROI. It’s no use putting a lot of money into a channel that produces a small number of results and returns. Section our your budget and assign to projects and channels that you feel deserve the investment.

Remember to itemise your budget to ensure you have covered every aspect including working with agencies, marketing software needed, paid promotions and events (even the ones you just attend).

Plan Your Objectives

You might easily reel off your marketing objectives. Increase brand awareness, grow repeat customer businesses, generate leads.. all of us are trying to achieve the same thing. But when planning for the year, it’s important to think a bit more specifically. Instead of just wanting to increase brand awareness, create a target for how many new social media follows you would like to gain. Make sure you set a deadline to work to. By having more concrete goals, you will better be able to have a clear vision for what channels to invest your time and energy in the coming year.

Instead of just talking about your objectives around the meeting room table with your team, make sure they’re written down and documented. Know who is responsible and accountable for what, and when you want them achieved.

Ensure Customer Confidence

Customer confidence will be key in the face of Brexit. We see such fluctuations in the confidence of consumers as Brexit negotiations are being sorted out. Many people worry about the future of their money and prospects. Making sure that your customers have confidence in your brand in the fact of all this uncertainty will help retain their business.

Focus on positive customer experiences, whether its looking and more conversational marketing tools to make their experience easier, or listening to their feedback and changing your strategy accordingly. As always, your customer is the priority, but this is even more important in the coming year.

Calendar Your Dates

Planning out your whole year is very important. Get a calendar and include key dates for your year including events, product launches, and specific projects. By having all your plans in the calendar, you can ensure you are always ahead of the game and getting your activity ready in plenty of time. It also ensures that you don’t crowd one month or quarter with all your activity, but instead gives you a good spread over the year. Don’t forget to make sure key Brexit dates are in the calendar, so that you can assess your marketing!

Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail, so plan for success by starting next year on the right foot!

Need some help planning your marketing for next year? Get in touch!