It’s the first week of a new year. Many people are making resolutions like getting in shape, eating better and improving their overall health. What about the overall health of your business? Have you made any plans for that?
Don’t start the new year with a resolution, start it with a well thought out marketing plan! There’s no better time to review last year’s performance than now. Using your company’s year end results, you can begin to plan where your valuable marketing dollars should be spent. Here are four steps that will help you develop a great plan that includes goals, tactics and anticipated results.
List your business goalsThe first step for the new year is to list your company’s goals. Is growing sales the main objective? Maybe it’s increased customer service results or reduced employee turnover? Have you quantified your goals? Growing sales is a nice idea; growing sales by 10% is a goal.
Determine your targeted customer for each goalThere are key customers that affect every goal and you need to know who they are before you can plan any marketing efforts to reach them. For instance, growing sales by 10% might mean focusing more on your core customers or developing an alternate revenue stream or expanding to a new territory. Reducing employee turnover might involve improved communications. For each targeted customer, list the various communication channels that might influence them.
Decide which methods you want to useThere are multiple marketing methods to reach your targeted customers. Develop a list that includes methods you’ve already used (social media, direct mail) as well as those you haven’t (maybe new sales materials or trade shows). With some methods you may be able to expect specific sales results (advertising campaigns usually yield immediate results) while others may be used to increase awareness.
Focus on specific tacticsNow you can determine exactly which marketing tactics will help you support each method, reach each customer and realize every goal. If direct mail is one of the communication channels you’ve committed to, what will you promote, how often and who to? What are the anticipated costs?
Businesses should develop marketing goals on an annual basis in conjunction with all other company goals and objectives. Then, build a full marketing plan every year, with course corrections and revisions along the way based on performance. The best way to ensure a happy, prosperous new year is to plan for it now.