It’s that time of year again when many are frantically looking for the perfect gift while others are developing their marketing plan for next year. If you haven’t begun yet, then you better get started. If you have a draft marketing plan but are looking for ways to improve it, then this post will be timely as I share some ideas to consider for your marketing initiatives next year.
But assuming you already have some clear objectives, here are my top 5 tips for your 2015 marketing plan:
- Define your target audience: Understanding your target market and audience is critical for marketing and sales but often not done in enough detail for a truly engaging marketing campaign. Many companies identify their target market but you also need a clear picture of your target audience within that market so you can explain how you solve their problems, know where to reach them and how they want to hear about your product.
- Develop simple, consistent messages: I’ve seen a number of plans fail because they don’t communicate a clear message or more common still, that message changes from month to month. So many of the messages are long and complicated that nobody understands what you are trying to say. You need to spend the time to make your messages simpler, easily understood by your target audience and differentiated from your competition.
- Build a content calendar: No one doubts that content marketing is critical but it’s one thing to create the greatest white paper or blog post and quite another to do it on a regular basis. That’s why creating a content publishing schedule is key so that you continue to share new content on a regular basis that resonates with your audience and moves them along the sales funnel.
- Try some new tactics: A lot has changed on the marketing front over the last number of years from social media to new forms of content like videos and info graphics. New tactics continue to appear so it’s important to try them but it’s equally important to measure the results to see if they are working better than some of the traditional tactics.
- Integrate your marketing campaigns: Regardless of the tactics you choose, they should not be done in isolation. Think about how the tactics deliver on the marketing strategies and execute them together as a campaign so they’ll be more impactful. Integrating content, lead generation, brand awareness, media/analyst outreach and others will amplify your efforts while doing them separately leads to more work with less impact.
Obviously, this isn’t a complete list of what you need in your marketing plan but it’s some tips around things that are often overlooked or not enough time is spent on defining them up front. Remember that the core elements of your marketing plan are to define the objectives, outline strategies you need to reach these objectives and the list of tactics that will be executed. And one more thing, I find it always helps to map your campaigns and the tactics into a calendar so you don’t plan to do everything at once but have a consistent drumbeat throughout the year.
This will be my last post for 2014 so I wanted to wish all of you a very happy holiday and all the marketing success in 2015. See you in the new year.