As we come to the end of 2015, companies are planning marketing efforts for 2016. A number of things have changed since your last annual planning period moving from 2014 into 2015. As you go into 2016, ask yourself, “How has the marketing landscape changed in the last 12 months?”, “How has my business changed?”, and “What gives me the most return on my investment?”
I believe the marketing landscape has greatly changed in the last 36 months. Reason being is social media has become such a dominant part of our world society. For the amount of money it takes to build a marketing campaign in print media, TV advertising or a seminar series, you can take a fraction of that money and focus on social media marketing and get a bigger ROI on your investment. This doesn't mean you ditch all the others… at least not for now. But you should lessen your efforts on the old school marketing and refocus your efforts on the biggest bang for your buck – digital marketing via social media.
Three areas to consider when building your 2016 marketing plan:
#1 - Are you focused enough with your marketing or are you all over the map? In the past, I have been guilty of changing direction every month, every week and some would say every second. With a good strong team and a dedicated man or woman, you can focus your marketing and keep on track toward your all ultimate objective. 2016 can be your best year ever. Having a person to keep you accountable will change your marketing life! We did it in our firm in the last three months. Jennifer took over being the point person in our marketing efforts. She is now full-time marketing and business awareness developer in our firm. Being able to focus means you know who your audience is and that is who you “talk to” via your marketing. Knowing your audience gives you a leg up on your competition. Knowing what they like, what they don't like, what they need and what they value will give you the information you need to grow your client base and add business to your book. Your daily goal has to be to get to know your audience and then build a marketing strategy that lands in front of their eyeballs.
#2 - Create a budget and stick to it. Building a budget based on the average three-year-past production level will give you a good guideline to allocate your dollars in marketing. It is important that you stay on budget. It is also important to know where those dollars will go each month. Building a marketing calendar will allow you to price and budget the correct amount of dollars to each campaign efforts. Not doing this will eventually kill your marketing efforts. So do the research, price your campaigns, allocate dollars needed to achieve your goals. Remember the payoff will not be immediate but will be more than worth it when you are planning for 2017 next year this time.
#3 - Be able to ZIG when your competition ZAGs. Understanding who your competition is and who they are marketing themselves to can give priceless insight. Understanding who their market is compared to yours, can give you a leg up. It is really important that you spend the time understanding how your competition is growing their business. Once you know this and you know your audience, you can apply the correct marketing strategies to win business.
So to recap as you work on your 2016 marketing plan, you need to #1, Have a focus. #2, Stay on budget. and #3, Know your competition.
Trent A. Grinkmeyer, AIF®, CRPC® / Financial Consultant