We’ve all been there. The night before that 2 week holiday away. Everything is packed. The hotel is booked. In fact everything is sorted apart from the directions. Good old AA Route Planner. Can you even imagine how far you would actually get without it?
The same applies to your business, and more specifically, your marketing. Failing to plan your marketing is a bit like driving to Scotland without directions.
Every January the onefoursix team pile into a room and plan. We plan everything from our financials to our sales and marketing. Here we are able to determine where we are, where we want to be, and more importantly how we are going to get there.
Here are some of our top tips for planning your marketing this year:
- The present and the future – The very first step to planning your marketing is to look at where you are now, and where you want to be. This involves financials, so have them ready. The sort of questions you want to ask yourself are:
- What are your objectives as a business? Usually these will be financially related. (Aka – what are you looking to turn over next year?)
- How do you currently rate against those objectives and what are your objectives for the future (set a date)
- How is your marketing going to help you to achieve these objectives?
- What works? – You should have an idea from the previous year as to which bits of marketing have worked for you and which ones have not. What works for one company will not necessarily work for another, so don’t follow the crowd. If you don’t know what worked last year then you need to start monitoring things. We are in the midst of writing a blog on how to monitor your marketing. If you are a startup, you need to seriously consider where your target market lies before spending money just for the sake of it. Once you have worked out what worked for you, repeat it! It really is that simple. For those things that did not work, don’t scrap them entirely – look at why they failed to work and look at ways to make them work. Successful marketing is more often down to the content and delivery.
- Integrated marketing – Integrated marketing is the use of a variety of platforms to consistently market your products or services. Whilst planning and implementing your marketing campaign, for it to be successful you need to consider a multitude of platforms. Whether it is TV advertising, Social Media, Newspaper/Magazine adverts or other Online Marketing activities, you should never just rely on one. Now this can also depend on your target market, however unless you are targeting a very specific type of consumer, you will need to be considering more than one.
- Set a budget – Set a marketing budget and stick to it. Try new things and spend on marketing campaigns you know will work. We build a marketing budget into our monthly financials every month, and more importantly; we spend it. If your marketing starts to work, make sure you reassign extra funds to your budget in order to push on.
- Break it down – It is not uncommon for people to start a marketing plan by looking at the year as a whole, before getting scared and pushing it into the “To Do” pile for it to never be seen again. Break down your year into manageable chunks. You may want to plan things 3 months at a time, or do what we do and break it down it monthly segments. Get a blank piece of paper and jot down each month of the year. Then brainstorm by writing down marketing ideas for each month. Remember to think seasonally. For example; we have a LOVE your brand promotion coming up in February. I wonder why?!
- Try new things – A client of ours tried marketing on the side of taxi’s and buses last year. It was the first time they had attempted this and it worked. However this does not necessarily just mean new platforms. Try changing your content. Try new offers, or even try competitions or giveaways. There is an element of ‘trial and error’ in every bit of marketing you do, so if you don’t try it, you won’t know.
- Measure, measure and measure – A fundamental way of finding out what is and isn’t working, and something which should form part of your marketing plan. We are in the midst of writing a blog on how you can successfully measure your marketing so keep an eye out for that. I would like to cite 2 examples –
- We had a local restaurant come to us 3 years ago stating that some magazine advertising they had been doing hadn’t resulted in a single response. We asked very simply whether they had even asked their customers where they had heard of them from. They said no. – Ask and measure, otherwise how will you know?
- A director of a local company constantly questions us on the level of return on investment that can be achieved through Social Media. His view is that there is none. Wrong! By monitoring the responses through Social Media campaigns with landing pages and bit.ly links (just as minor examples) you can successfully monitor the success rate of any campaign; Social Media based or not. One of our clients has more recently had £000’s worth of business off of a Facebook campaign costing as little as £259. – Return on investment, TICK! This was only known by measuring the results.
However you do it, make sure that this is the year you plan your marketing. The top tips above will hopefully help you along the way, however should you require a little more assistance, give me or the team a call on 01604 419776. You can also email me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Dave Williams
Dave Williams is the founder and director of onefoursix; a digital marketing agency based in Northampton. After setting up onefoursix in 2011, Dave has gone on to grow it to one of Northampton’s finest agencies. His expertise include social media, user experience and SEO.
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