New Year Already? It’s Time For a New Marketing Plan
The new year means a whole new set of opportunities for your business to grow, but sometimes it can be difficult deciding where to start. That’s why one of the most effective tools for any business is a detailed marketing plan. This plan will help highlight areas for growth, threats, new innovations and detail what the year will look like. Basically, you can think of your marketing plan as the GPS for the coming year just don’t forget to update it otherwise you may find yourself falling off a financial cliff. Remember, procrastination will mean that your brand may suffer over the year. So, if you haven’t already put together your marketing plan, you need to start one TODAY!
Every plan is going to be different based on your observed needs, industry, business size and budget, past performance, and the list can go on and on. However, here are some basic questions to help you get started on one for your company.
What is your current business situation?
Not sure how to tackle this question? Then may I introduce you to your new best friend, the SWOT Analysis. This handy tool is great at illustrating your Internal Strengths and Weaknesses, as well as External Opportunities and Threats. Make sure that you make this section as detailed as possible, with actual numbers to back it up, otherwise you’ll just end up doing yourself a disservice when it comes time to create your plan. Some examples of general insights that you may find when conducting your SWOT analysis can be:
- Internal Strengths: Established reputation; truly unique or innovative features
- Internal Weaknesses: Relatively new on the market, or unknown; strict budget
- External Opportunities: Recent research/innovation in your industry causing an increase in demand
- External Threats: New competitors that can offer your product/service at a more affordable rate; downturn in economy
Who are you planning on targeting with strategic marketing messages?
The next step will be to look into your exact target market, and no the answer is not “anyone interested in buying my product or hiring my company.” Instead, you’ll need to be exceedingly detailed that way you can create effective marketing messages. This should include details such as age range, demographic targeting, gender, and even a specific problem that your target market will be interested in using your services to solve.
What specific result is my company expecting to see?
This is where you will need to detail your exact goals in order to come up with the most effective marketing mix possible. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep these feasible, but not so easy that you know your current strategy will achieve it, no matter how tempting that can be. For example, depending on your industry an attainable goal may be “to increase app downloads by 45% in 2018.” The more detailed you are with these goals, the better able you’ll be at coming up with goal driven strategies.
What marketing tactics should I use?
Now its time to get down to business and decide which strategies will best reach your target markets and complete your goals. Taking our earlier example of wanting to increase app downloads, while creating your marketing plan, you may decide that you want to target college students ages 18-24 in the Jacksonville area who are interested in keeping their budgets more balanced. You could use more of a traditional marketing method in this by sending out flyers on college campus’ or even hiring student ambassadors. However, you happened to notice from your marketing research that some of your downloads came organically from your Facebook page. In this case you should consider including a more robust social media strategy in your marketing plan, as well as testing out using paid advertising models.
How large should my marketing and advertising budget be?
Everyone is going to have a different budget for their marketing and advertising mix based on the factors we mentioned before. However, there are some constants of the modern marketing world that should be included. These constants include search engine optimization (SEO) marketing, website design and optimization for mobile and social media marketing. However, that doesn’t mean that you should stop using more traditional marketing tactics, especially if you’ve had success in the past using them. These could include email marketing, event and promotional marketing, content marketing, good public relations, media buying, direct marketing, etc. Combining these traditional marketing methods with more modern digital marketing strategies can help bring your brand to center stage.
You may find during the year that you have to remain flexible in certain areas. Stay alert to the market. If a new social app comes out, investigate it. If you notice a competitor getting a lot of traffic with a method you hadn’t thought of before, see if there’s a way to make it work for you. Don’t be afraid to add or delete parts of your marketing plan throughout the year.
Planning out your marketing plan is something that you need to be doing NOW, but remember, you get back exactly what you put in, so don’t make the mistake of trying to do it all during your lunch break.
At Dion marketing, we can help tailor an effective marketing plan utilizing traditional and modern digital marketing tactics that can get your business on the map. Our dedicated team can lead you to achieving your marketing goals and increased business.