Marketing Planning for the New Year
The year is coming to an end, and to say it has been challenging is an understatement. But here we are, and that’s a positive in and of itself.
One thing we can be sure of in the coming year is that changes will continue, which can be concerning and even scary.
With that said, two things remain true as we transition into a new year of uncertainty: You can control your thoughts and focus on the opportunities, or you can switch to survival mode and hunker down waiting for better times to come out of your shell.
The point is, mindset can make you or break you. The optimistic approach takes solace in the fact that slower economies offer opportunities for change, investment and expansion.
The safe approach, on the other hand, might seem reasonable, but research shows companies that go this route are slower to recover because they lose ground, and many eventually fail.
The fact is, optimism is an important component of achievement, especially in times of change and crisis. Despite the challenges, industry reports show some distributors have experienced tremendous growth and expansion, proving there is plenty of business out there.
If you’re looking to grow, this is a good time to plan for the new year and change what you can control, starting with your marketing strategy. It requires you to be flexible to try new things, but it also requires going back to some basics.
As you work on your marketing plan for the new year, you might be wondering what things you should be doing now. Based on our experience and the market changes we have seen in the past two years, here’s what we recommend.
1. Refresh Your Brand
If you haven't done so already, now is a great time to reevaluate your positioning in the market and whether or not you are on target with what the market wants from you.
Your brand is foundational to everything you do in marketing. It establishes your core message and creative identity, and it serves as a guide for everything you do. First brand, then plan, then execute. That has always been the winning formula and it is even more important today.
Reassess your message and position in this marketplace. This means investing in your customers to improve how you communicate with them throughout the buying process. Talk with and listen to them to gain valuable feedback and understand what their needs and challenges are and consider adding new services that will help them.
2. Review Historical Metrics
Most distributors make assumptions on what tactics work better or what products are more popular based on their own likes and dislikes. This is a mistake that can be easily avoided. You have historical data that should be evaluated to help influence strategy direction. It may tell you to re-optimize your digital ad campaigns or to consider new markets based on search volume. Looking at the data is key.
3. Audit and Update Your Marketing Strategy – Online + Offline
Now is a great time to take a look at what you’re doing in terms of marketing and assess if you are on the right track. You may already be well-positioned in the market, but the tactics you have in place might need adjusting, as they often do. Or maybe your tactics are disconnected, and you need to fill the gaps so they produce better results. Whatever the case, taking a high view of all you have will help identify what you need to make your marketing more effective.
4. Improve Your Website
Your website is your place of business, open 24/7. You want to make sure it’s doing a good job at greeting visitors and guiding them through their buying process. You might need some simple improvements or a complete overhaul. If you’re on an outdated platform and need a whole new website, it can be a bigger project than you realize, so having a proper plan is critical. This time of the year, when things typically slow down for a bit, can be an excellent time to tackle and put together a game plan for a new website.
5. Focus on SEO
In the B2B space, SEO is critical to sustained business growth. There is no better way to implement an inbound lead generation strategy with the best quality leads. However, it’s a well misunderstood strategy because it’s not a quick fix and it’s rather complicated. Achieving results is time consuming and requires technical know-how. We often compare it to growing trees. With a good plan in place, continuous work and patience, you will see beautiful plants that start to grow and eventually give you delicious fruits.
So, the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll begin seeing returns.
6. Use Paid Search and Social Media
Online ads can help you expand your reach to a larger captive audience. Done right, it can accelerate your results a great deal. This requires a strategic approach, as well as the right dose of experimenting and testing new and interesting ways to attract and engage with your audience.
7. Ask For Help
Like the saying goes, do what you do best and delegate the rest. You might have an in-house team that can work with you or you might want to outsource your marketing implementation.
Either way, planning is critical, and to help you get ready for 2022, we’ve put together a marketing planning webinar, so you can start the new year with a plan of action to effectively market and communicate with today’s digital-first customer.
It’s happening Thursday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. EST, and you are invited. Register here. We'll cover how to drive more leads, increase sales and grow your business leveraging the internet. We'll also walk through the steps to draft a marketing plan for 2022 that will provide certainty in an unpredictable, rather chaotic market.
Gloria Lafont is a mother, grandmother and business owner. Throughout her business career she has started, bought and sold a dozen businesses in the branding and marketing field, including a distributor company. She’s currently president of Action Marketing Co., founded in 2007. Her company focuses on helping distributors increase visibility, generate awareness and drive traffic so they can connect with more of their ideal clients and generate more leads and sales.
Gloria is a big fan and supporter of education and the cultural arts, volunteering her time and donating marketing support over the years to help various organizations grow in membership and revenue. She also enjoys the South Florida lifestyle mix of business, beaches and arts.