After gathering many years of marketing experience, I have come to realize that no single formula applies to all business models — but there are a few important and fundamental concepts that tend to be more or less universally applicable. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to apply these concepts and, out of frustration or disheartenment, ultimately abandon otherwise potentially successful marketing approaches.
In this article, I’ll briefly discuss three important steps that can help you and your business’s marketing team design and focus upon an effective and successful marketing plan.
1. Well before Jan. 1, sit with your team and write down your goals and objectives for the upcoming business year. Develop a clear and concise marketing plan and specifically define what that strategy entails. In this rapidly changing business market, the approach that you used last year (whether it was successful or not) may not be useful anymore. Recently, for example, many business marketing plans have come to rely upon online influencers who can bring a remarkable amount of attention and brand awareness to a product or service. Influencers can help you create innovative media content and dynamic consumer engagement for your business. Needless to say, social media is yet another important, relatively recent (within the past two decades), and rapidly evolving marketing tool that I believe most businesses should employ in order to remain competitive.
Additionally, I recommend learning how to capitalize on social media platforms and using paid advertisements to drive traffic to your site. Paid ads are among the most cost-effective, high-return-on-investment (ROI) marketing strategies I’ve used. Also, be sure to seek out applicable technology in order to automate many of your marketing systems. This can not only streamline and improve your marketing process but can also free up your employees to manage and nurture relationships with customers and vendors.
2. Remember that motivation is also a big factor in forming a successful marketing plan. Make sure you roll out your plan internally and in a fashion that gets everyone excited, motivated and moving in the same direction. Many business owners and employees may view marketing strategies as rather dull and tedious. But if you present your marketing ideas in a positive, enthusiastic manner, that vibe can go a long way toward getting not only your marketing team but also all of your business partners and employees to join in. Be careful, however, to avoid dictating your ideas to everyone else. Instead, involve your entire marketing team (and any other applicable owners or employees) in the strategizing process. That way, the people who will be instrumental in promoting and applying the marketing plan can feel that they have played an essential role in that plan’s design.
3. In addition to planning and implementing these strategies, be sure to design an adaptable marketing plan. Naturally, circumstances will change throughout any business year, and nothing is more frustrating to owners and employees than a plan that fails to roll with the punches. Furthermore, don’t get discouraged. Restrategize and refocus if necessary. Although we sometimes hear about marketing approaches that propel businesses to virtual overnight success, those stories are far from the norm. In reality, marketing is a process that takes time, dedication and perseverance. Emphasize to everyone involved that it’s important to strive toward your goals and to accept a few failures along the way. And don’t let naysayers discourage you. Be adaptable, and never forget that marketing is a moving target that is constantly changing. Be quick and ready to move with it.
Write out your plan, motivate your team and be ready to adapt. Marketing strategies are a moving target, and being able to act quickly with changing trends is key to your success.