December is, of course, the month when the Christmas spirit is everywhere you look. However, getting wrapped up in a holiday mood and focusing only on the present could prevent your business from thriving in the New Year. Just as it did in 2013, Marketing will continue to play a vital role in achieving your company’s sales targets in 2014. So if you still haven’t started working on your Marketing strategy for next year, why not start now? Below we have outlined a step-by-step guide that can help you:
Five Things You Need To Consider When Planning Your 2014 Marketing
1. Business goals and objectives
The foundation of strategic planning is to define your goals and objectives. What is it that you want to achieve with your Marketing activities and why? A great way to start is to take a look back: What goals did you have for the past year, and did you manage to fulfill them?
Once the objective evaluation is clear, it’s up to you to decide if you need to simply refine previously unfulfilled Marketing goals or define completely new ones.
2. Alignment between goals and type of Marketing initiatives
The next step requires a more detailed analysis of your goals, matched with practical solutions. Here you need to define what kind of specific activities are going to take place in your Marketing plan for 2014. Regardless of what set of initiatives you choose to focus on (coupons, physical events, online campaigns, direct mail, etc), it’s crucial that you are completely aware of each activity’s overall purpose. If, for example, you plan to send out Brochures, would you aim at boosting awareness, increasing sales or targeting a new market?
3. Communication channels
Marketing covers a diverse set of channels, each playing a role in the successful delivery of your activities. Hence it’s important that you also assess how and where your different Marketing activities will get deployed. More specifically – which communication channels will be included in your marketing mix in order to get the best out of each activity? A keyword to always keep in mind in that step is relevancy. Never fall into the trap of diving into “trendy” channels just because everyone else is. For example, it will make much more sense for a new local restaurant to attract customers by an EDDM campaign, targeted at the specific neighborhood, rather than just seeking awareness via over-crowded social media, like Facebook.
Additionally, the communication channels assessment is tightly related to the next point in our list:
As stated in a 17th century famous Dutch proverb: “To gain profits, you first need to invest”. That saying is particularly true for your Marketing strategies in 2014. In order to optimize your budgets and leave no room for surprises, however, you have to be fully aware of the details. How much will each of your activities cost? What are the resources that need to be spent for each distribution channel, etc?
5. Marketing Calendar
What is planning without a Calendar? Incomplete. If you want your Marketers to feel in control, enable them with an overview of each and every activity they have planned for the upcoming 12 months. That way, you will not only have a better common vision of what comes next, but also make sure that you have the time to prepare for each activity in advance. For example, if you plan a direct mail campaign to go out in time for Spring Break, you will want to make a note in your Marketing Calendar about it at least one month ahead. That way, it’s guaranteed that your sales materials will be delivered to the right addresses on schedule.
Even though it’s the time of the year when you feel the Christmas spirit, do your best to stay focused and spend the necessary time planning your 2014 Marketing Strategy now. This way you make sure your company embraces the New Year with the confidence of a winner, ready to welcome all of 2014’s Marketing challenges.
Download our FREE MARKETING SPREAD SHEET and start planning your 2014 Marketing Year today!