The first day of autumn, the start of a new season, and yes, the time to start thinking about your marketing plan for next year! If the idea of this doesn’t sound like as much fun for you as it is for us, we’re breaking it down into steps. Let’s do this!
Whatever the size of your budget, the elements of a marketing plan are the same. We start by taking a look at internal and external conditions that could affect your business. Ponder these questions:
First, the internal, or customer trends:
Do customers break down into segments by size, by location, by some other category?
What are customers saying about your products or services?
How many new customers have come in, how many have left, how long have they been customers?
How much are they spending? Where are sales up/down?
What percent of customers convert from prospects? How long does it take for a prospect to become a customer?
And, the external, market and competitive conditions:
How does the economy impact the business?
What are the trends for the business industry?
How is the business performing against competitors? What new solutions, pricing, programs are competitors implementing?
Ok, NOW, imagine your business at the end of next year:
It’s December and you’re celebrating your company’s accomplishments. What are they? How many new customers? What’s the company’s revenue? Did you launch a new product or service? Did you enter new markets? Add new employees, locations, or partners? Did you implement a more efficient or innovative process?
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” To build your marketing plan, you must first decide what it is you want to accomplish. Tactical programs flow from objectives, and ideally should have an element that can be tracked to measure progress. Said another way by Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
So, this is your license to daydream today! Let us know what your hopes, dreams, and wishes are for your business. And, stay tuned for the next installment of this blog series where we’ll dig into how to translate your business objectives into marketing goals.