What’s your Marketing Plan for 2016?
We all know the old saying ‘if you do what you’ve always done, you get what you always got’ – so what are you going to do differently in 2016 to increase business awareness, turnover and profitability?
Often when I talk to companies about marketing strategy I sense a feeling of fear/reluctance to put things down on paper. A marketing strategy can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be – it helps to keep you on track .. you don’t have to be a slave to it!
I’m all for keeping things simple. If you don’t want to forecast long term why not look at a 12 month plan with objectives for every quarter? It’s important to be flexible – market trends change, competitors come and go, new products come to market – your needs/activities may change!
How to get started – keep it simple
Start by looking at what turnover you want to achieve and then work back from this. Is this revenue going to come from new business only or a mixture of new business and customers? Are there likely to be some products or services that will sell more quickly than others? Do you have a mix of high and low value products/services? You will need to be quite clear what you have to sell and what split of this will make up your turnover.
Quick Example – A website company needs to turnover £100K in the next 12 months. Typically the websites they create are valued at £5K so on the face of it they need approximately 20 new clients to achieve their turnover so their marketing activity should be focused on winning new business – right? Wrong. They have 50 existing clients; they also host websites and carry out graphic design work so suddenly they need to factor in the following:
1. How they can improve existing customer sites and how to go about selling this
2. How can they go about securing more web hosting business
3. What design work they’ve carried out – whether they can sell more to existing clients, how much they could look to achieve with prospective clients.
4. New websites – taking account of the above they might find that actually they only need to find 10 new clients because the rest of the revenue will come from points: 1,2 and 3.
This inevitably will change their marketing focus and the activities they will carry out.
NB – Understanding what you need to sell and to whom will change your marketing focus and that’s why it’s really important to go through this exercise. Your marketing strategy should remain flexible – for example, a competitor may introduce a new product to market which you need to react to.
Segment your target audience by splitting existing customers and prospects into groups – these groups will be defined by what you sell/how people buy from you.
Having identified which products/services you need to sell and to whom, you now need to ensure that what you are saying addresses the ‘need or the desire’ in your audience.
You really need to look closely at what customers actually see as the benefit. For example, while Costa sells coffee, the benefit to the customer is a place to relax and chat with friends or a place to catch up on work because they offer wifi access.
The way you define the benefits of your products/services will shape your marketing message.
So what’s next:-
Time to introduce your Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan goes into the logistical details of your strategy e.g. what marketing platforms you are going to use to target customers, (social media, email marketing, exhibitions, PR, direct mail, newsletters etc), the frequency, who is going to carry this out and the budget you are working to.