The start of a new year is often the time to implement a new marketing plan. The marketing strategy your business in 2015 should be strategic, research-informed and aligned with your overall business goals.
Remember, effective marketing campaigns aren’t run in silos. They are integrated with strategic business plans and help to achieve common goals. Results aren’t simply about how many likes, follows or clips you accumulated during the past year – they are about how each of these outcomes contributed to achieving larger goals, such as lead generation, improved organic search engine rankings and securing speaking opportunities at trade events. As you reflect on your 2014 marketing success and failures, and refine your plan for the year ahead, aim to avoid these missteps in 2015:
- Overvaluing tactics and undervaluing strategy – How will you measure success if the team isn’t working towards a set of clearly-defined objectives?
- Being too rigid – In a real time media world, you need flexible strategies that can adapt to changes in the business climate and news cycle.
- Setting unrealistic benchmarks – Aiming high is admirable, but you need to set goals that are realistic given both the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.
- Over allocating resources – People wear many hats in most businesses. Be realistic about the resources – both time and money – that can be allocated to marketing.
- Ignoring the competition – While you may not want to follow their lead, keeping a close eye on the competition is key to marketing success.
- Overlooking integration – In 2015, content-rich, multi-channel strategies will reign supreme.
- Neglecting your blog – An out-of-date blog reflects poorly on the company. Don’t commit to blogging if you can’t consistently devote time and energy to generating content.
- Not tapping into your network – Harnessing the power of one’s network can be a vital lead generation tool. Don’t let opportunities to acquire the right customers slip away!
- Underestimating the power of video – YouTube is the second largest search engine and visuals are a powerful storytelling tool.
- Undervaluing collaboration – Two heads are better than one. Leverage your team’s full potential to get the most out of your marketing efforts.
- Generating too little content – Blogs, social networks, online newsrooms, email marketing campaigns and many other marketing tools are truly content beasts. Feeding the best requires a high volume of high quality content.
- Casting data aside – Be it web analytics, email open rates or premium content conversions, data is an invaluable tool for refining one’s marketing strategy.
- Saying ‘no’ to SEO – Whether ensuring page titles are the proper length or adding meta descriptions to blog posts, SEO isn’t to be ignored.
- Using social too sparingly – While every platform won’t be the right fit for your business, a creative, well-timed social media marketing campaign can attract new online audiences and strengthen connections to existing ones .
- Waiting until December 2015 to evaluate success – Jump back to tip #2 for a reminder about the importance of a nimble strategy. In a digital world where there is no limit to the data available for measuring success, there is no excuse to set it and forget it. Measure often and use data to refine your strategy. (Sound familiar?)
A new year is a great opportunity to wipe the marketing slate clean of past missteps and seize the opportunity to test new strategies and creative campaigns. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, now is the time to chart the course for your 2015 marketing program. Take the time to bring your marketing team together and have an open discussion about what worked well and which areas warrant a revamp. The more data and insights you have to inform your strategy moving ahead, the greater the odds of generating measurable marketing success.