We’re about to head into the new year, which is a great time to make resolutions for your personal life. But the impending new year may also be putting some pressure on you – because you haven’t laid out a 2016 marketing plan yet.
A great marketing plan doesn’t have to be difficult, or even filled with the hottest marketing trends. Instead, you should focus on where your customers see value in your business, how you can best communicate that value, and how to build consistent brand experiences for your customers and prospects, no matter how they interact with you.
Below, we’ll walk you through how to develop a strong marketing strategy going into the new year, and why this is so important to your bottom line.
What is a marketing plan?
While it might sound complex – and even a little overwhelming – a marketing plan doesn’t have to become a huge ordeal. A list of priorities, attached to a timeline, is the easiest way to create a plan for your business. And in our experience, the simpler the plan, the easier to implement!
Why is a marketing plan important?
We all start out the new year with the best of intentions – a great workout plan, a healthy diet, ideas for marketing… But without a system in place to hold us accountable to those awesome plans, it’s very difficult to keep them consistent throughout the entire year.
In addition to this, by not following a plan you create a shotgun approach to marketing. And without a strategy to back up what you’re doing, you can’t be efficient or effective. Which means all of that time and money you’re putting towards marketing is kind of a waste.
Think of your marketing plan as your roadmap to success in the new year. Not only will it help you to identify when you should begin implementing each initiative, it will hold you accountable to taking each tactic to completion. And that equals marketing success (and very likely, more profitability) for your company in the coming months.
Where to start
When we pull together a plan for a new client, we always start with a strategy session. This gives us the opportunity to understand our client’s business and goals, while helping them to verbalize what they want to accomplish in the new year.
Things to keep in mind when you’re conducting a marketing strategy session:
- Team: Anyone who has a major stake in the success of your campaign, or will become a big part of the implementation process, should be part of your strategy session. This helps everyone’s voice to be heard, and will give you a much better understanding of your bandwidth for implementation.
- Audience: The first thing you need to narrow down is your audience. Who are your top prospects this year? What do they like? Who are they at their core? How can you better connect with them?
- Value: Understanding what your clients value about what you do for them is an important foundational item, as it will guide your messaging. This needs to go deeper than just “our high level of service” and “we’re experts at what we do.” You need to really dig into why and how what you do impacts them, then turn that into a message that propels your position in the marketplace. Use this message to guide all of your tactics throughout the year.
- Bandwidth: In marketing, doing a few things well is much better than doing a bunch of things at a mediocre level. Knowing how much you can take on will help guide your timeline, and realistically prioritize what needs to get done first.
- Tactics: Based on the work you did above, think through what will make the biggest impact on your customers this year. There should be a combination of in-person and virtual or print touch points that keeps your business front of mind.
- Timeline: To hold yourself accountable, attach a timeline to your priorities list. This will help you keep momentum moving forward, and move from project to project in a timely manner.
- Track Progress: Finally, be sure to track your progress so that you can identify how to further optimize campaigns throughout the course of the year, and determine how you want to utilize each tactic in the future. Use your CRM to track how you’re getting customers, and where you are generating the best of those customers.