A New Year. A New Marketing Plan. - January 4, 2017

Developing a marketing strategy as part of your overall business plan helps you focus on how you will sell your products or services. However, your goals, and how you intend to reach them, may change as your business grows. For that reason, your marketing plan should be reviewed annually to update your go-to-market strategy.

Begin 2018 with a review of your integrated marketing plan by following the tips in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today from writer and editor Carol Deeb.

Review Your Purpose. The purpose of your marketing plan is to outline how you will reach your target audience and sales goals. But your audience changes and your goals can fluctuate with market changes. Make sure your goals are updated to current conditions. Also review your goals for reaching specific audiences. Have these buyer profiles changed? Are there new platforms that are more effective at reaching your specific buyer groups? Ask these questions to determine if your goals, strategies and customers' needs are aligned.

Review Components of Last Year's Plan. To develop your new-year marketing plan and annual strategy, review your progress from last year's plan. Once you've established where you want your company to be in the coming year, figure out how you'll get there through your marketing plan. Focus on seasonal sales and how to improve during lulls and busy times. Repeat the strategies that were most effective, and include the cost estimates for each one. Project product pricing and competition, and determine if you will need to raise prices, which may impact your sales and marketing goals.

Implementation. Once you understand what you need to accomplish to grow your business, implement your strategy by matching the strengths and talents of your employees to different segments of your plan. For example, if a goal is to increase your online presence, the staff member who has the most experience and success with web content, advertising and social media can take the lead. Explaining your annual marketing plan to your employees helps them understand why they are assigned to certain tasks and how their efforts benefit them and the company through increased sales.

Review. Finally, schedule time to periodically review your marketing plan throughout the year. Look at your goals and the strategy you developed to achieve them, and determine if you are on track for reaching them. Ensure that you are accomplishing your strategic plan, and if you need to make any changes to it due to unforeseen circumstances, such as an increase in cost of goods sold or a new competitor. This process is ongoing, so your new-year marketing plan and strategic goals are not a once-a-year endeavor but a quarterly one (or even more frequent).This focus will allow you to manage resources, be responsive and be efficient in achieving your goals.

Source: Carol Deeb has been an editor and writer since 1988. Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers and online publications, as well as a book on education. Deeb is a real-estate investor and business owner with professional experience in human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University.


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