Accomplish Your Marketing Strategy This Year
It feels like just yesterday we rang in the new year with fireworks and confetti, but somehow it’s already the middle of March and we’re flying right through the year. It’s so easy to lose motivation this time of the year, and maybe some of those new year’s resolutions along with it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get back on track and reset your focus for the rest of the year! If one of your new year’s resolutions was to revamp your business or department's marketing strategy, but you haven’t quite gotten as far as you would have liked to by now--believe us, this is usually the case, so know that you’re not alone-- we’re here to help give you that extra push and reinvigorate you and your team to implement that beautiful strategy once and for all!
Have you set the right goals?
No strategy can be started or completed without first identifying what your marketing goals are, and whether or not they align with the overall business goals. If you already have outlined your goals in a marketing strategy, now is a good time to check in and make sure that they are still the same as when you started planning at the end of the year or beginning of January. Have you achieved any of them yet? Do you need to reconsider your outcomes? Do the benchmarks you set still seem achievable? Your strategy will be fueled by whatever your business goals are, and ultimately be the catalyst to help you reach and accomplish those marketing goals, but they need to be practical and achievable otherwise it’s easy to lose momentum.
Who is your target audience? Has it changed?
Identifying who your target audience is may be the single most important detail to successfully implementing your marketing strategy. Who does your business or brand matter to? Knowing who your target market is will allow you to directly focus everything you do related to your marketing strategy specifically for that audience. For small and/or growing businesses, sometimes your audience can change as you grow, fluctuate and will allow you to discover who is most interested in your product or service. It can be a worthwhile effort to check in about once a quarter and do an analysis of your current marketing efforts to see if you are on track or need to pivot in order to reach the market.
What’s the competition doing?
It’s always good to know who you’re going up against or who you’re aligned with. Your marketing strategy should aim to set your business apart from similar businesses and give consumers a reason to choose your product or service over the competition. Of course, this idea is what keeps most business owners up at night, and we know you are well aware of the need to keep ahead of your competitors, but how? To start, don’t ignore the marketing efforts of your peers. What are they doing that is working? And, what they are doing that you feel isn’t working? These insights then will allow you to take what you’ve learned, find a gap of opportunities for your own unique marketing tactics, and set the standard high so others will look to you when they are trying to grow their business.
Align your tactics
How you will reach your marketing goal will be left up to what tactics you decide to implement. But, beware--your tactics need to match up with your overall strategic goals. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get swayed with every new trend, platform and message you see in the marketplace. Don’t be fooled into trying everything. Knowing what tactics you want to use depends on your overall business goals and the audience(s) you’re trying to reach (see, we told you identifying your audience would be important). If most of your audience is millennials who are frequent users of social media, you don’t want to waste time on tactics that won’t reach them. If you try to be everywhere and do everything, it’s likely you won’t do anything well and will end the year wondering what you accomplished. Instead, align your tactics with your goals and stick with them!
Measure your success--regularly
Your marketing efforts will not mean anything to anyone unless you measure your progress. You will want to show how much you grew X to increase Y & Z, or on the converse side, if X did not grow--when you thought it would-- you can change your approach. Wherever your starting point is, create a few benchmarks for 3, 6, or 9 months down the road to continually measure your success. This is where simple KPIs (key performance indicators) come into play. KPIs can be sales, web referrals, engagement, brand awareness, customer retention, etc. Keeping track of 4-5 of these on a monthly basis will keep your team and efforts on track.
Ultimately, regardless of the progress you have made in your marketing strategy this year, it’s valuable to check in and make sure you are moving forward in a unified direction. You can measure your progress in any number of ways, but we think these simple tactics are some of the easiest to stick with to make sure your company or team keeps moving the needle throughout the year.