With 2014 just a few weeks away, now is the time to refine your marketing strategy to ensure your business or nonprofit starts the year with a nimble plan designed to achieve measurable goals. Follow these five easy steps to kick off 2014 with a strong marketing plan in place:
Ensure your content plan is aligned with your buyer personas
Are you marketing materials written in the language that your clients are speaking? That is to say, is jargon used in moderation, is the ‘what’s in it for me’ clearly defined and are you focusing on the ‘need to know’ v. the ‘nice to know.’
Developing marketing – be it a blog, brochure, fact sheet or website – that demonstrates a strong understanding of one’s target audiences helps builds trust between prospective clients and a brand or organization. It also positions the organization or brand as an expert and trusted provider of products and services.
Audit your social media presence and trim the fat
Less is more when it comes to social media marketing. It is far better to focus on a couple (or few) well-developed platforms than have a presence on every channel that is under-developed and does not reflect a brand or organization’s value propositions. When evaluating the success of your social media marketing, consider which platforms are generating website traffic, on which platforms target audiences are the most engaged and which platforms are best-suited to housing the content your organization or brand is creating and curating. Further, be realistic about the amount of time your team can dedicate to populating and maintaining the platform(s) and how best to allocate those resources to generate meaningful ROI.
Add some wiggle room
While developing a marketing plan for the next three to five years would save time and resources, this approach is unrealistic in a real-time media world. As you look to refine your marketing strategy for 2014, consider adding in some wiggle room so your organization or brand can take advantage of timely opportunities that may present themselves. Think attaching oneself to breaking news, industry trends and reports, and the like. This approach requires a nimble strategy and keen eye for identifying when one is lending value to these timely conversations as opposed to creating distractions or clutter.
Let data inform the strategy
During 2013, your brand or organization amassed a swath of Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, third-party app reports, customer satisfaction surveys and more. The question is, what are you doing with this treasure trove of data? Using research to inform one’s marketing strategy is a strategic way to ensure that marketing, audience needs and overall business/organizational goals are well-aligned. Comb through the data you have amassed to assess: (1) what types of content are resonating with specific audiences; (2) what times/days are best to share online/social content; (3) what types of questions/areas for improvement are constituents sharing; and, (4) what’s trending across platforms and communications channels.
Identify and learn from missed opportunities and missteps
When looking back at your brand or organization’s 2013 marketing activities, where do you see areas for improvement? Did a competitor beat you to market with launching a key product or service offering? Were media opportunities light because of an inconsistent outreach? Did you conceptualize what seemed like the perfect campaign, only to have it garner minimal results? Simply put – it happens. Marketing is just as much of a science as it is an art, and sometimes opportunity knocks yet nobody answers.
As you hone your business plan and marketing strategies for 2014, take the time to align business goals and marketing tactics to ensure optimal ROI. In a real-time media world where there is no shortage of communication channels or boundaries on creativity, strive to develop concise, cohesive marketing that resonates with target audiences and positively impacts the bottom line.