Hopefully, most companies have their 2009 marketing plan ready to go by January 1st but this generally isn’t the case. Too often, larger companies do not place enough emphasis on their most important business objectives (marketing and business development) for the next year. They do not start planning for the next year until January! Hitting Q4 goals and closing out the books becomes and overwhelming task and everything else is put on the sidelines. The best way to keep things moving forward from quarter to quarter is to have a good internal team or marketing company focused on the key objectives. When building your new plan, keep in mind that all aspects most act as a perfectly formed puzzle and compliment one another. Here are a few steps that should be taken when building your marketing plan for 2009.
Do a thorough analysis of past marketing campaigns and their ROI:
The best way for an ongoing marketing strategy to evolve is to constantly be analyzing the results and making the necessary adjustments to constantly be improving ROI. Take a strong look at current marketing tactics and the teams you have implementing them. Many companies make the mistake of sticking to the same strategies year after year simply because they (and other companies in the industry) have been doing it for decades. Like I have said before, if you are doing business today the same way you were even six months ago, you may be in for a rude awakening.
Set specific business goals:
Similar to marketing strategies, business goals should be set each year, reviewed quarterly and probably changed every six months depending on results and external market shifts. For example, your business goals might be to improve employee retention, increase monthly/annual revenue, or implement a completely new marketing strategy. Keep in mind, as stated above these “goals” are just good ideas. To take these ideas and mold them into actual business goals you would need to apply a great amount of specificity to each. For example, your revenue goal would not be to increase revenue but to increase annual revenue by 10%. Then you would have an entire plan and strategy to help you execute that goal.
Determine what customers to target to reach your goal:
This is an important step because it may require you to shift into new revenue streams, target new customers, or place more emphasis on existing clients. All of your marketing efforts will be designed to reach the target market you determine to go after as a result of this exercise. Consider new partnerships and referral programs. One of the best ways to quickly grow revenues is to gain the trust of another company that can send you business. See how your company can compliment the potential partner’s existing service offerings and offer them profit sharing opportunities. If it works out, that partner could be a sales force all by itself. Then take that model to other similar companies. Show them the value proposition and how you can help them grow.
Develop a business development and marketing strategy to support all of the above goals:
Now that you have done your research and created a realistic list of goals, create a plan to execute these goals. Make sure your plan has definable benchmarks and a measurable marketing plan. If necessary, hire a well-rounded marketing company and have them help you refine and roll out the plan. Notice I used the word “measurable” above. In your initial research you probably determined that some of your past marketing efforts were not just ineffective, but not even measurable. EVERY company in this economy needs to track every penny, especially when it comes to marketing. Marketing should be seen as an investment in the future growth of your company. Any good investment should have a definable and measurable return.
In my completely non-biased opinion, Internet marketing is the best and most tartged strategy that is measurable. That is why it is one of the fastest growing industries out there. All companies need a more cost effective approach to marketing. Make the investment. If you want your company to grow, you can no longer ignore your online marketing potential. If you have yet to explore this aspect of your company growth, 2009 is the time to start.