By: Pat Seroka
You’re likely in the final stages of completing your marketing plan for next year. Now is a great time to take a 20,000-foot view and ensure it includes these 6 major components:
- RESEARCH: Make sure you refresh your research from prior years. Market conditions change, your prospecting universe may have changed, buying paths likely changed, and trade show opportunities may have changed, along with speaking opportunities. Unless you study and accommodate those changes and others, you could be off-target and spend your money and time in the wrong places. Ideally, this refresh will also include good introspection of how you are currently perceived in the marketplace.
- UPDATE BUYER PERSONAS: Understanding who your buyer is, what motivates them, what their “pain” points are, and what they are seeking from the services you offer are critical. Get together with your sales and marketing people and profile the personas you are trying to reach, how to best reach them and what will motivate them to engage with you.
- COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: In sporting events, coaches and players carefully review the stats of all the competitor’s players and review hours of plays to analyze the teams they are up against. You need to do the same thing with your competitors. What are their unique selling propositions (USPs) compared to yours? Have they won or lost market share this past year and why? What can you really do better than them, and where have they got you beat? Time for honesty among your troops so you can map out an effective strategy.
- ESTABLISH YOUR BUDGET: Even if you’re a small company and are the owner and chief marketing officer (CMO), you still need to decide, up front, what you will be spending, and be willing to spend all of it. You can always add more later if you discover a tactic that is really working well. Going into a new year without a firm budget from management will either result in overspending or under spending, both of which are unacceptable in today’s business world.
- STRATEGIC PLANNING: Here’s where so many companies surprisingly fail… they wait for or allow inspiration during the year to influence campaigns in place of creating a strategic plan each year and sticking to it. You need to identify each appropriate marketing path and determine how best to navigate it and what amount of budget you will spend in each pathway. So many avenues are available today; events, email, social media, content marketing/strategy, direct mail, trade show attendance/exhibiting, webinars, seminars and so many other options. No, you don’t need to do all of them, you need to use the research, persona development, competitive analysis and other fact finding you did up front to ensure you select the right paths and dispatch the right funds for each path that is best for you.
- METRICS: When the new year rolls in and you begin spending that budget on the tactics you identified via the strategy you created, make sure each marketing dollar is giving you the best return on investment (ROI). Measuring the effectiveness of every marketing effort is critical. Armed with those metrics you can make adjustments throughout the year to ensure your plan is as effective as possible. Today, there are so many opportunities to measure campaign success that were never available in the past. Technology has given us tools to track just about every marketing effort you launch. And, if you determine one tactic is working more effectively, you can take the budget from underperforming areas and redirect it – or – add to your budget as a result of the new business success you are acquiring.
Marketing today is the unique and pragmatic blending of identifying the best opportunities combined with the best messaging and disciplined follow-through.
If you’re in the mortgage or fintech arena and would like to chat about your plans for next year, send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve been helping successful top companies like yours succeed for over 30 years. I’d like to do the same for you.