As we enter the final two months of 2015, it can be easy for businesses to become wrapped up in holiday season… especially consumer based businesses. However, in order to stay ahead of the curve, now is the time that business owners should be planning their marketing strategies for next year! As the saying goes “Fail to plan, plan to fail”, so here are several tips on how to lay the foundation for the perfect marketing plan before 2015 sneaks up on you.
Bring In the S.W.O.T
One of your greatest assets in determining what you want the future of your organization to look like starts with a S.W.O.T analysis. Sit down with your management team and a sample of other employees to determine what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are and then build a marketing plan based on those insights.
Know Your Audience
Sure you may have some idea of who your audience is, but having a true understanding of who your audience is; what they like, what they don’t like and how loyal they are to your brand, can have a major impact on your marketing efforts. By analyzing your current and potential audience, you consciously select groups of people who will be attracted to your organization and product offerings. Your marketing goals transform from just getting people through the door to attracting the right people with the right message and most importantly, at the right price.
Keep Your Competitors Close
Having a keen grasp on what your current and potential competitors are doing can only work to help your organization flourish. Before finalizing your 2015 marketing plan, your team needs to determine what businesses are currently taking away market share from your organization, as well as what new competitors may be coming into the market place that may result in a loss customers. Work to analyze all of your competitor’s marketing assets (website, email, advertising, media messages, promotions, etc.) to determine how you will work to combat their efforts.
Trends, Trends and more Trends
Social media, content marketing, video marketing, native advertising, the list is endless and ever-changing when it comes to marketing trends. The key to not wasting money on the trend of the minute is to have a clear understanding of what is hot and determine how that tactic could benefit your businesses. Yes it might make sense for your company to have a blog, however; it makes much more sense to have a strategy on how you are going to manage and promote that blog in order to see any kind of ROI.
Be realistic with your budget and your goals
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is that their marketing goals and budgets do not align. Simply put, if you are in the process of establishing a new brand and/or want to steal market share, you need to plan on dedicating at least 10-15% of your operating budget to marketing initiatives. If your goal is to maintain your current standing in the market, plan on dedicating at least 5-7% of your overall operating budget.