2011 is over – history. You know without a doubt exactly what you accomplished and where your business came up short. Now is the time to examine every aspect of your 2011 marketing plan and see how you can revise it for a more profitable 2012. Please tell me you do indeed have a marketing plan. Without a plan you are relegated to shooting from the hip as your year progresses. Always reacting to circumstances instead of acting to create a response. The winning business is the one that has a plan.
Look back at 2011. What products or services offered were a hit? Which were not received well? Did you reach your target market? What media did you employ to reach your market? Were you able to measure your success? Did your particular field encounter a major change during 2011? Is the field of competitors filled with the same players or are there some new ones on the field? Were you able to achieve your goals working within your budget? Does it look like your business is stagnant? Once you’ve answered these questions you can move forward with a 2012 marketing plan.
I will agree that the process of putting together a marketing plan may seem daunting. It does take a lot of work. It forces you to be honest with yourself about your past success. It makes you face and confront areas that need improvement, a complete overhaul, or require new ideas using new media options. That’s why it can be beneficial to utilize the talents of a professional. Work with someone who knows the process and can guide you through each and every consideration as you formulate your plan. Some of you may only require a few meetings of consultation to refresh your approach and let you know what’s trending in business communication outlets. Think social media. Think mobile advertising. Others may need more in-depth assistance as you formulate target markets, demographics, media usage, budget constraints, and your particular timeline. Some of you already have marketing departments that keep your business focused toward a specific goal. That’s a wonderful advantage. Even in this circumstance it may be necessary to consult with a design professional to be sure you understand the best way to use new media and to create that media. A partnership between marketing and design should produce the most effective advertising placed in the best venue for your product or service.
Welcoming 2012 is fresh in our minds. Now is the time to work toward a profitable new year. If you’re a veteran to this marketing task then let this serve as a reminder that there’s work to be done. If you’re new to this or feel that you could use some expert advice, now is the time to pick up the phone or send out that email to a professional. The time and expense you put into this task now should prove profitable as your year progresses. Establish goals now and work to realize success. BoyDog Design can assist you with your marketing plan and the media you need produced to reach your goals.
I wish everyone a year filled with opportunity and success!
Good news for those of you who have struggled with the decision to add social media to your marketing mix. According to the Small Business Success Index small business adopted the use of social media at twice the rate of 2008 in 2009. These businesses are finding that social media offers them access to their market – enabling them to build their brand, engage their current customers, and attract new customers as well.
Here’s a link to useful information summarizing these finding: http://www.bit.ly/ceSbFP
It’s never too late to add social media to your marketing plan. BoyDog Design can assist you in sorting through the various social media sites, blogging options, directories, and more. Is it time to hone the social media persona of your business?
I just came across these links and thought I’d share…
2010 Online Marketing Influencers: Trend Predictions in 140 characters by Trendsspotting http://bit.ly/876UgL
TrendsSpotting’s 2010 Consumer Trends Influencers http://bit.ly/7JPMmg
TrendsSpotting’s 2010 Social Media Influencers – Trend Predictions http://bit.ly/4OWZgV
Once you’ve done the hard work of qualifying your target market it’s time to refine your message and its goals and utilize the best media to reach that market. If you have a fully developed marketing plan or have advertised before you are likely to inherently want to stick with what you’ve done in the past. If you’ve been successful, great – continue on the same path. If you haven’t been able to measure your success or you’ve seen a decline is response – maybe it’s time to review some alternative media outlets or change the mix to reflect your changing customer base. There’s no harm in researching and trying out a new medium that you’ve never thought of using in the past. For example, social networking is the latest trend in communication yet many are not familiar or comfortable enough to make that leap.
Current statistics show an increasing pull toward digital media and away from print for younger audiences. Young adults have grown up enjoying the benefits of instant access to information and entertainment. Mature audiences on the other hand continue to value print as a demonstrated reliable source of information. It is in your best interest to weigh the benefits when choosing between digital and print media or when configuring the mix using both. Today’s businesses no longer have the luxury of relying on subjectively chosen media outlets. Just because you might prefer one over the other is not going to guarantee the best return on your investment. A lack of knowledge or expertise in applying a new venue to your marketing plan is no excuse for ignoring current trends and a new vision in approaching your customer base.
Once you recognize who your market is and how they receive information it will make the job of developing a media plan easier to conceive and hopefully result in a profitable outcome. A balanced approach to communicating with your target market will require a complete understanding of which media your market is drawn to and then determining your voice when using that preferred media. Every outreach to your audience is an opportunity to build your brand and reinforce who you are and what you offer, what makes your product or service different and relevant to their needs, and where you fit amongst your competition. The greatest impact will be achieved with a consistent dialogue utilizing the available media that is proven to connect with your customer base. Continuity in your message and presentation are vital. Make sure you are representing your business or service in the same way throughout each venue. Stick to your core values and find ways to reinforce how they positively impact a potential customer.
Each media choice requires a specific creative product. Unless you are comfortable with your knowledge of the skills required to develop those products it would be wise to acquire the services of a professional. Trained design professionals will help you define the problem and envision your desired outcome. They can help you define your approach and give you the needed support while seeking information and potential solutions. A design professional will help you make the tough decisions along the way and work as part of your creative team. Focusing on each specific media choice they will assist you in shaping your message to match the media. The benefits of working in this team effort are clearly demonstrated in a streamlined creative process that results in a product that is both professionally produced and more likely to attain the goals you’ve set in your marketing plan.