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Is Your 2017 Marketing Plan Ready?

By December 8, 2016 No Comments

2017-ahead-webThe holidays are here and many marketers are trying to finalize their plans for the winter trade shows. The cycle never stops, but now (or earlier) is the best time to really see if your 2017 marketing plan will propel sales in the new year and take your brand to the next level.

Here’s some things to think about as you’re polishing your marketing plan for 2017:

Reaffirm and Fine Tune.  A strong marketing strategy is key to ensuring your product and brand are seen not only by your potential customers but also your current customers. Acquiring a new customer costs about 68% more than retaining or increasing a loyal customer. A good starting point is to reassess your market. This is easily done by answering some fundamental questions:

  • Is there a new trend in your market? Did a competitor latch onto a niche you missed or that customers love?
  • Most industries are cyclical but did the buying season grow? Shrink? …Or is there a new factor in length of the sales cycle?
  • Are there any new market opportunities for 2017? Product planning is sometimes more than 18 months out. Reevaluate your market size and competitive landscape.

Your answers will help you shape your marketing strategy. When you have done this, it’s time to confirm or perhaps redefine your target customer by looking at gender, age, education and income level, geography, type of work, buying habits and other criteria.

Go beyond the typical demographic information when you can. Buyers, no matter if it is a retail or wholesale business, are people.  Research the best you can on the buyer’s “psychographics.”  If this is a new term to you, it is the analysis of consumer lifestyles to create a detailed customer profile. Market researchers conduct psychographic research by asking consumers to agree or disagree with activities, interests, and opinion statements. Results of this exercise are combined with geographic (place of work or residence) and demographic (age, education, occupation, etc.) characteristics to develop a more ‘lifelike’ portrait of the targeted market segment. Forgetting about the buyer’s behavior and relying on just typical demographics can be a marketing mistake.

All About Me.  In marketing, it is truly all about the customer.  Knowing the customer is where it’s at.  How can you develop a call to action if you haven’t done the analysis and segmentation work?  You have to determine what is the problem your product or brand is solving? That answer is critical to sales and gaining market share. Your product and brand needs to be positioned to be the “only” real choice to solve the problem. This prompts a more immediate action and shuts down the competition.

Competition. Knowing the competition has never been more important than it is in today’s global, always-on marketplace. An easy and forgotten way to do this is to ask your current customers why they chose you.  Your current customers are already your fans and most are very willing to help you become better.  It’s the easiest and most effective way to define your offering in the eyes of the customer. This exercise also has the added benefit of detecting an unknown competitor or perhaps an issue within your current customer base.

Content. Content. Content. Content marketing and social media marketing are the essential framework holding up the business marketing structure in 2017. And just as you have an overall marketing strategy, you need a content marketing strategy. Ideally, the New Year is a great time to launch new content or a new content channel. Remember, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world because of the power of videos, and is invaluable if you target customers using social channels. Whether you focus on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snap Chat, YouTube or SEO, there is no substitute for high-quality content. For example, Instagram advertising became huge in 2016, and the importance of imagery to telling your brand story can hardly be overestimated. When it comes to content marketing, quality usually wins over quantity.

Maximize Opportunities in 2017. Go into 2017 with a plan for how to market your business more effectively using a strategic blend of digital and non-digital channels. Content is still king, so try something new to mix up your content. All digital marketing has costs associated with it, in terms of money or time. Be mindful that you only need two social channels to build a powerful brand online. Just be sure that you look at your Google Analytics to see where your best referral sources are for your website. They will tell you which social channels to focus on. Social media marketing can’t be an afterthought for any business or brand anymore. It should be a given in your overall marketing strategy for 2017.

Need help with any of these items?  It’s what we do.  If you would like to learn more about building your brand or ramping up your digital presence, contact Cliff Callis today at ccallis@ecallis.com or 660-826-2822.

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