[vc_row][vc_column][lead pci_lead=”The leaves are falling, the holidays are quickly approaching, and you have projects galore to wrap up before the end of the year. Amidst the chaos, does taking the time to create your 2016 marketing plan give you a fright?”][vc_column_text]Marketing planning doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, the key to success is simply setting aside a little time for pre-planning. While you may be hesitant to add anything else to your plate, preparing for your 2016 marketing planning will not only make you more efficient in the coming year, it will keep your organization’s marketing monsters from 2015 at bay. Follow these 6 steps to BOOst your 2016 marketing efforts…your success will be paranormal.
Evaluate the past year. What worked? What didn’t work? What were your victories and challenges? Assessing the quality of your campaigns—including whether you set and met the right goals —can be a great way to benchmark upcoming campaigns. Don’t be afraid to ditch the “monsters” that didn’t work and develop new strategies to boost the things that did.
Get a little feedback. Talk to your customers, clients, members, or stakeholders. Whether through informal conversations, more structured focus groups, or online surveys, getting direct feedback can help you identify market trends, set priorities and goals, test messaging, or identify audience needs—all essential to the planning process.
Explore marketing innovations. Is there a new marketing platform that could better reach your target audience? Are there new tools to help you measure impact, deliver quality content, or effectively identify business leads? Have your colleagues been talking about a new vendor you’ve been meaning to check out? Now is a perfect time to schedule that visit. These explorations can yield new approaches to integrate into your marketing plan.
Think goals, objectives, and priorities. You want your marketing plan to help your organization reach its goals. This is a good time to re-evaluate your organization’s strategic plan and recent leadership direction to reconfirm the objectives and priorities most important to your organization. Knowing what’s important to your organization helps focus your efforts and ensure your plan will have direct and valuable impact.
Don’t forget your competitors. Think about the top two or three organizations that compete for your target audience. Review their websites, social media, and advertising to see what they’re talking about and how they’re positioning their products or services. If you have stakeholders that use a competitor, ask them for a frank assessment. This helps you proactively stay ahead of the market.
Think. Don’t do. When you’re in the midst of that big campaign, or putting out one fire after another, how often do you find yourself saying, “I don’t even have time to think.” Now is the perfect time to read articles, attend a webinar or two, and talk to your colleagues—anything could spark an idea for 2016! Giving yourself time and space to think may provide the best jump-start to a great marketing plan.
Having a marketing plan that guides your efforts is essential. But, before you put pen to paper, do a little pre-planning to ensure your organization’s 2015 marketing missteps won’t haunt your organization in the new year.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]