Making merry this holiday? Get small business marketing plans done now

As such, consider taking these steps now instead of scurrying to catch up after the holidays.
by: Custom Toll Free , November 22, 2016

With the holidays approaching, the idea of hitting the ground running in January may not be top of mind for many small business owners. But forming your 2017 marketing plan early is vitally important, especially if immediate changes are called for to make everything work.

As the old adage says, failing to plan is planning to fail.

“Many small business owners may not give marketing the time, research and attention it deserves, assuming they know their customer base and how to reach it,” writes Marci Martin in Businessnewsdaily. “But an in-depth and detailed approach to laying out your marketing strategy can reveal opportunities from a new audience or potential product line, pitfalls in pricing, competition reaction and potential reach.”

As such, consider taking these steps now instead of scurrying to catch up after the holidays.

Gather documents. To get the big picture, you’ll want to assemble your company’s financial reports and sales figures (by product and region) for the past one to three years. Also helpful: Data regarding target markets for your products and services; the state of your marketplace; market trends; customer personas and demographics; competitors; your geographic boundaries and/or your distribution channels.

Assemble feedback. The more staffer insight is included in your plans, the more comprehensive your view and the greater likelihood they’ll be on board moving forward. “The best thinkers in your company may well have different ideas about elements of the current situation,” advises a recent article in Entrepreneur. “Your marketing plan will provide a good arena to test different snapshots of the market against each other.”

Evaluate your market situation. Entrepreneur recommends you regularly scrutinize your products/services; your market size in dollars; your sales and distribution setup; your geographic territory; your audiences; your competitors and your past sales success. When gauging competitors, consider their websites, social media and email campaigns, prices, product mixes, SEO strategies, etc.

Identify threats and opportunities. Marketplace trends could help or hurt your business, so consider whether your products are poised for success — and if not, what should be done.

Consider new technology. With recent advancements in analytics, might online tools save you time and money and/or increase the value of your customer profiling?

Get out of your comfort zone. Should you try a new marketing technique or trend, perhaps testing it on a small scale before adopting it?

Build in wiggle room: Entrepreneur recommends you plan to “act, observe, adjust and act again” with your strategy, constantly adjusting the timing, budget, methodology, etc.

Set reasonable objectives. Aim for the golden mean between establishing challenges and taking on so much that the constant failure depresses your staff. Then plot out your planned changes on an activity matrix that extends over the entire year, assigning responsibility to key staffers.

Finally, once your plan is finished, make it as transparent to key staffers as possible, regularly reviewing progress and results to maximize their long-term support.

If all goes well, you’ll have your marketing plans for the new year well in place by the time the holidays hit. Happy forecasting.

Custom Toll Free can set you up with targeted vanity phone numbers that help make best use of your marketing dollar. Call us at 1-800-CUSTOMIZE.

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