As we begin a new year, we hope you’ve spent sometime planning for 2008. Specifically, we hope you’ve spent some time putting together a detailed marketing plan for the coming year. Here are a few things to think about as you put that plan together.
- Set specific, measurable goals and make certain people are accountable for them.
- Determine what tactics will help you most cost effectively accomplish those goals.
- Budget appropriately. Remember, marketing is an investment in future returns, not a cost center.
- Examine your mix of traditional versus digital marketing spending.
- Invest in replacing your direct marketing with electronic marketing to cut costs and increase customer interactivity. This means gathering email addresses.
- Push your website to become the center of your sales effort.
Putting you and your team though even a basic marketing planning process will help you learn a lot of things. It will also help to focus you all on the same set of goals. And that’s the most valuable part of the process.
Once you’ve done those things and set your plan into action, remember to constantly check your progress and readjust your goals and tactics. In short, keep planning all year long. Because here’s the thing… unless you do, you’re plan will become worthless. Your marketing plan can’t become something you do once because dozens of unforeseen things can affect how you go to market. For instance, your competition could open a new store or make a major advertising push. Your manufacturer could fall on hard times. One of your new releases could become the “must have” car of the year. Or you may have to respond to a failing (or surging) economy.
All of those things could render your plan useless unless you’re willing to alter your plan and adjust to a new reality by doing some more planning.
That’s why we say that planning is essential, but the plan is useless. Sounds crazy… but it’s true.
Marketing Strategist/Creative Consultant