A New Year's Resolution: Build a Better Marketing Plan


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Celebrate the New Year with a comprehensive marketing plan! There’s no better time to review last year’s performance than now. Using your company’s year end results you can begin to plan where your valuable marketing dollars should be spent. Here are four steps that will help you develop a great plan that includes goals, tactics and anticipated results.

List your business goals
The first step for the New Year is to list your company’s goals. Is growing top line sales the main objective? Maybe increased customer service results, improved gross margin or reduced employee turnover? Have your quantified your goals? Growing top line sales is nice idea; growing top line sales by 10% is a goal.

Determine your targeted customer for each goal
There are key customers that affect every goal and you need to know who they are before you can plan any marketing efforts to reach them. For instance, growing top line sales by 10% might mean focusing more assets on your core customer or developing a secondary market or expanding to a new territory. Reducing employee turnover might involve improved communications (i. e. marketing) to your internal customers. For each targeted customer list the various communication channels that might influence them.

Decide on the methods you want to use and quantify expectations
There are always multiple marketing methods to reach your targeted customers; develop a list that includes methods you’ve already used (say, direct mail) as well as those you haven’t (maybe new sales materials). With some methods you may be able to expect specific sales results (advertising campaigns usually yield immediate results) while others may be used to increase awareness (comprehensive marketing campaign to explain benefits to your employees).

Focus on specific tactics
Now you can determine exactly which marketing tactics will help you support each method, reach each customer and realize every goal. If direct mail is one of the communication channels you’ve committed to, what will you promote, how often and to whom? What are anticipated costs and what is your planned ROI for each effort.

Businesses should develop marketing goals on an annual basis in conjunction with all other company goals and objectives. Then build a full marketing plan every six months, with course correction and revisions along the way based on performance. A plan allows your company to proact, not just react to market trends and helps an organization, no matter the size, stay focused on the reaching their objectives. The best way to ensure a happy, prosperous New Year is to plan for it now.

Claudia Trusty develops strong marketing and branding messages that drive results for small and mid-size companies. For twenty years Trusty and Company has produced communication solutions for clients in retail and service industries. Visit them on the web at http://trustyandcompany.com/ .


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