You shouldn’t be surprised that the year is long gone. What could be rather surprising is if you have not made any plans towards the year ahead. To make a real impact in the market we all know that long before the end of one year, planning for the next should begin. Just as budgets and goals are set well before January 1, marketing plans should be, too. In fact, you truly need your marketing plan in place before you can even create a budget.
The first thing you should be looking at if you at least had a marketing strategy and plan in place for the current year is the measures from last year’s activity. These are; what worked and what didn’t work.
You need to know -Where is the company going? Has its overall direction changed? If not, it’s probably arriving closer to certain goals. Is the company launching new products, programs, or services? Planning to enter new markets? All these are critical considerations in developing a marketing plan. Get as detailed information as possible on where the company is going and what it needs from marketing to get there. Marketing does not work in a vacuum.
Indomie needs to know if Belleful is making waves in the market, Diageo needs to know if Orijin zero is still a product to reckon with, La Casera needs to know if their comeback has been worthwhile….and many more. Talking about comebacks, some comebacks are very interesting, for instance the return of MTN Pulse has been fantastic.
Have your audience changed? Could your demographic be maturing along with your company’s offerings? Are you talking to entirely new groups? Is it possible that the priorities and concerns of your audience have changed? If your audience has changed, your messaging should change. And so, in some cases, should the marketing activities you undertake.
What new options are there to reach your target audiences? Whether because these audiences have evolved, making options relevant that weren’t before, or whether because new marketing vehicles have entered the game, ensure you consider all possibilities. New marketing tools and services debut almost every day.
Do you need to adjust your overall tactical mix? Maybe it made sense this year to put a little more time and money into a certain marketing vehicle—tradeshows, advertising, social media, or something else—but don’t repeat yourself in the coming year out of habit. And whatever you do, don’t simply increase everything you did this year in hopes of getting more results in the next. It won’t work.
In marketing, we may use past data in order to find trends and predict future data, but the key to successful marketing is to use those trends to come up with a strategy that enables a business to thrive.
Creating a good strategy is easier said than done. It is important to gather data and market research before beginning to put together your strategy.
In order to plan your strategy for the upcoming year, it is necessary to assess the effectiveness of your strategy from the year before. Hopefully, you have been gathering and analyzing data all year and have a pretty good idea of your current strategy’s strengths and weaknesses. Now is the time to put all that data in one place and take a good hard look. Decide what you should keep and what you should change. Maybe even consider adding something you’ve never tried before.
You need to know the trends and know that your business is unique, and what works for the general population might not work for you.
For example, many analysts are insisting that Instagram is the new biggest thing in social media, but if your business does not fit within Instagram’s target market or naturally have interesting visuals, then it is probably not an effective idea to add Instagram to your marketing strategy. However, maybe you’re not on any social media channels. Facebook may be a potential option for you to explore in the next year. Know your target market, look at your own numbers and use common sense.
Plan Campaigns. Very key. You do not need to know all the details now, but you should allot enough time and money to run all the campaigns you want to run for the whole year. By planning ahead you’ll help make time to put the needed marketing materials together. Will you be adding new products, introducing your brand to new markets, or moving forward with a new strategic initiative? Plan ahead and build it into your strategy so there are no unpleasant surprises or rushed campaigns throughout the year.
Think of your goals and how you’re going to reach them. Then, choose some kind of analytic to measure that progress
Know your audience. No strategy is going to be effective if you don’t know who you are directing it towards. Consider who is your target market and what types of marketing they respond to; when are they online and what are they looking for? Strategize the best ways to get your message to them and how to interact with their responses.
Without a marketing strategy, any marketing you do is likely to be ineffective and a waste of time and money. With just a little bit of effort and knowledge, your strategy can effectively reach your target market and help your business reach its goals. Start the New Year right with an updated marketing strategy.
By Kehinde Olesin