As we near the end of another year, the season of reflection and resolutions is upon us. And while it’s true that we should be analyzing and adjusting our strategy all throughout the year, we all know how quickly time passes and how easy it is to let certain things fall through the cracks.
Considering it’s mid-December, you should have already started thinking through your calendar and business marketing strategy for 2014. If you have, way to be! And if you haven’t, consider this your loving kick in the rear, courtesy of WindFarm Marketing.
Here are a few tips for getting started:
1. Scope out the entire year on the calendar. List your events, holidays, busy seasons, slow seasons, annual promotions, and any other pertinent information you have about the coming year. For bonus points, color code it by category. I’m a sucker for color coding.
2. Think about what sorts of business goals you have tied to each quarter and write them down. Once you’ve come up with your quarterly business goals, think about what sorts of things need to happen each week to achieve those goals. Scope the goals and tasks on the calendar, too.
3. Think about what kinds of offers, campaigns, coupons, discounts, promotions, premium content, blog posts, and social media content can be used to support each of your business goals and how they will specifically target your buyer personas. Write them down and scope them out on the calendar. Think about anything new you’d like to add to the mix. Brainstorm. Figure out how much of an ad budget will be needed to back each campaign and which channels will be used for advertising.
4. Take a look at your budget and make sure you’ve allocated the proper percent of your budget to marketing based on your marketing goals. As a general rule, companies should be spending about 3-5% of their budget on marketing, however, if a company is looking to grow significantly, that number should go up to anywhere between 6-10%. There are certain industries where the percent is much higher, but for most companies, this should do. Adjust either your goals or your budget accordingly.
5. Figure out how you want to allocate your marketing budget on each of your various campaigns throughout the year. You should be able to take a look at last year’s numbers and analytics to see what was working for you and what wasn’t. Allocate accordingly. Don’t be afraid to cut something if it’s not working for you. You don’t have to do everything and be everywhere. You just have to be where your potential customers are. If you need extra help with this part, consider hiring a marketing agency to help you work through your strategy, particularly if you’re looking to expand your efforts into digital platforms you haven’t used before. They can help guide you through some of the unknowns and offer practical advice.
6. Task away. Assign every single task for the first quarter and make sure each team member understands his or her job in making this marketing strategy come to life. If you need to, hold a team meeting to get everyone on the same page. Take time to figure out how you’re going to handle follow-up to make sure everything is getting done properly and on time. A great marketing strategy can fall to pieces without proper implementation.
7. Kick 2014′s ass. You heard me.
There’s more to the process, obviously, but this is just meant to get you started.
Remember, a marketing strategy is critical for your business, because it’s what forces you to think through and identify which particular actions will best reach your target audience. And if you’re not reaching your target audience, what are you doing?
Don’t waste money on services you don’t need in 2014. Think it through. Come up with a plan. And make sure it’s really damn good. We’re here if you need us.