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It's Q4. Have you started your 2020 planning yet?

October 10, 2019

Is anyone else triggered by looking at a calendar? 

This is not a general fear—for me (KateMM here!) it’s very specifically related to looking at the end-of-2019 calendar. We’re not only in the last quarter of the year. We’re in the last quarter of the last year of the decade. 

So yeah, that’s a little stressful for those of us who are prone to planning and forward-thinking, AKA basically the whole marketing field. 

If you’re like me, you’ve been doing the professional equivalent of covering your ears and LA-LA-LA-LA-ing your way through the first two weeks of October. But trust that you’ll be much better off if you acknowledge that a) time passes quickly and life is but a brief moment (#deep) and b) it’s time to start planning for the new year (and decade!!) ahead. 

The first question to ask is this: what are the company goals for 2020? Each company’s goals will be different, of course, but there are a few tips that are helpful across the board. 

  • Get aligned. Talk to other company stakeholders. What have they already tried, either in their current role or in previous experience? The goals you envision for 2020 might be different from what your colleagues on the leadership team might envision. Or they might have great insight as to what can be accomplished. 
  • Get realistic—and fair. Big dreams are great, but it’s crucial to consider the cost to your team. What do teammates have on their plates? Can they reasonably accomplish the goals you’re proposing? Big goals and visionary leadership will mean you sometimes have to push your team further, but make sure to consider who will take what tasks and roles. 
  • Dive into the data. Spend some time in Google Analytics and any other analytics platforms to splice and dice the data. Where can you improve in 2020? What have your wins been from 2019? 
  • Research trends. What is the next horizon in your field? What are brands with sky-high budgets doing? What are the small, scrappy agencies doing? All of that matters in thinking through where you want to go and where you want to take your clients in 2020 (and beyond). 

Once you’ve honed in on your goals for the new year, it’s time to think about budget. Because goals are all well and good, but if you’ve budgeted exactly $0 for them, you won’t accomplish them. 

With your goals in mind, how will your budget change from 2019? Will it stay the same? Is it changing as your team plans for a potential economic downturn? Or are you prepping for growth? 

In this recent study by PR Daily, which collected some fascinating data. About half of respondents’ budgets were going to remain about the same as 2019. 

For those whose budgets were changing, more of them were increasing their budgets than decreasing—often to invest in higher-quality video storytelling content, including hiring an in-house videography team. 

Tech, too, was a recurring theme in the survey, and something we at Sprocket see increasing value in—specifically, the ways agencies can use tech to collect useful data about campaigns and audiences, and how we can leverage that tech to create efficiencies for our team and clients. 

These are just a few of the ways agencies are putting their budgets together for the coming year, which will set the stage for the whole. damn. decade.  

How are you setting your stage?