It’s okay. You can finally admit it. You have not been giving marketing the attention it deserves.
I get it. Q2 is already here and Q3 conversations have started – you’re busy! But when did you last visit your marketing plan? Remember the one that you and your team put together at the end of 2015? The one that had all the answers? Or maybe that the 2015 plan was quickly put together based on what was done in the previous years. Sound familiar? You are not alone.
During a recent call with a client, I asked about their 2016 marketing plan. I wanted to know what it contained, how often it was referenced, and what were the biggest differences between the current plan and last year’s plan. Like many other small companies, they did not have one that they considered “up-to-date.”
Take a few steps back
When the recent focus has been on product development or on-boarding new employees, jumping right back into marketing might require taking a few steps back. It’s no different than taking a little time off from your usual exercise schedule. When you finally get back to the gym, you need to start with the fundamentals then progress to where you want to be.
Restart your marketing habits with these key questions:
- Who is my audience and how has the audience changed since I last visited them? Your audience and their situations can change quickly. Consider the construction bubble burst in 2008 and the oil decline in 2015. Consider the introduction of the iPhone and the digital camera. Some events happen very quickly and others take time but leave a lasting impact (good article on missteps by Kodak). Dust off those marketing personas and confirm that they remain accurate for today’s marketing plans.
- How have my channels changed and are they still aligned with my audience? Just as your audience changes, so do the channels they rely on for industry news, technology updates and career strategies. When Google stopped sharing the keyword search results, this caused many marketers to reconsider SEO techniques. Like Google, Facebook’s constant innovations and pivots keep marketers on their toes. You might want to ask: will Instant Articles on Facebook help or hurt your content strategy?
- What content needs to be refreshed? Content is king, yes, but only content that is relevant to the target audience. Clickbait techniques will quickly turn off your audience and leave them with a bad brand experience. Avoid this. Need new ideas? Give an update to a previous blog; identify new customers that will share their story; write a prediction / trend piece for 2H2016.
- Also consider: budget, resources, product pipeline, competitors, SWOT, etc….
How to make these marketing habits stick?
Hiring an advisor to keep you in check is a start. Many advisors will create a plan that fits for you and your priorities. Think of the advisor as your trainer, makes sure you get out of bed and that you maintain a good mix of the marketing diet. Your advisor should challenge you while understanding your business and your priorities and should justify the decisions in the plan.
Good luck! Remember, you are not alone in your current situation, but you can makes changes in order to get ahead of your competitors. Separate yourself from your competitors with healthy marketing habits.