It’s very easy to leave a lot of ‘must dos’ to the last minute when you’re running your own business, particularly when the end of financial year looms. If, like many businesses, you plan your marketing activities to commence with new FY budgets as opposed to the calendar year, it’s even easier to miss things.
Either way, having a solid marketing strategy in place is essential before you launch headlong into new activities – otherwise you may just be wasting your money. If you don’t have a plan in place, it’s not too late to get one done because you don’t want to be reacting to what your competitors are doing or simply developing something on a hunch.
Where to start, you ask? Well, a good place is simply having a think about what it is you need to achieve in the next 12 months, then working towards some marketing objectives that are in line with these overall business objectives. If they’re not aligned, then you could find yourself behind the eight ball before you even start – and you’ll be far less likely to achieve your goals.
The following things are well worth considering, as they can help you identify what marketing activities will work best for you in 2019/20.
1. Research the competition.
Get Googling. Even better, get out and have a look at what your competitors are up to. Keeping tabs on what they’re doing will only keep you on your toes and provide some great opportunities to be smarter.
2. Customer insights.
We’re all putting our customers first, right? If you’re not, then you really need to start. It might be your customers, stakeholders or even your staff. Get a better picture of what they need or are looking for in order for you to deliver them real value.
3. SWOT it out.
Put down on paper what you think your current business health looks like, good and bad, and determine what’s going on inside and outside of the business. This will provide you some valuable insights to help prioritise things.
4. Write down your objectives.
Prioritising is key here. Don’t try and do it all. Think about what’s achievable and relevant. What’s going to provide you with the most opportunities whether it’s communication, process, organisation or culture building in your business. Most importantly, put some measures in place to track your progress.
5. Develop your strategy.
Once you know what you need to do, how are you going to get there? What’s the actual plan? What tactics will you use? Get creative with how you’re going to make a difference and improve on last year.
6. Execute with precision.
Avoid distractions! Implement your Marketing Plan and stay true to your objectives and strategy. Get the right resources in place in order to do these things – and always be sure to make it clear who’s accountable for what and when it needs to be done by.
7. Test and measure.
Once your activities are in motion, keep checking how things are tracking to understand whether they’re successful or not. Don’t just set and forget. Fine tune, tweak and optimise. It’s amazing how often seemingly small changes can make a big difference to the end result.
Clearly there’s a lot to think about, especially at this time of year. But you don’t have to do it all on your own. Think about who can support you in the business or whether you need to look outside for help.
Here at The Marketing Clan we’re considered by many of our clients as an external marketing department. We provide the extra resources they need to complement the full-time staff within their business. If you need some support putting your marketing plans together, simply give us a shout. We’ll help take the load off your desk for 2019/20… and beyond.