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New Year, New Plan

Happy 2015! For many the New Year is a great time to start afresh (no pun intended) and I’m sure that like us you’ve set more than a few personal goals for the year.

It’s also a perfect time to review and refresh your marketing plans and goals. Planning is an ongoing process, and to help your business develop and prosper, you need to remain ahead in the ever-changing business landscape. Re-evaluation of your plans are key to help you develop new ways of supporting your existing customers, attracting new customers, and finding new opportunities to drive the business forward.

So forget “Drink less wine” (where’s the fun in that?) Instead, here’s a short checklist to help you with some more productive New Year planning: 

Goals and objectives: How did you get on with your last goals? How are your current ones going? Make sure you are working towards some SMART goals for the business. And in our experience, you’re more likely to achieve 3 ambitious goals than 10 vague wishes.

Target audience: We already know how important your target audience are (read: Know your audience) but have you considered that they may have changed, or that their needs and interests have evolved? Perhaps there is a new audience that you could be considering to support the expansion of your business?

Competition: What are your competitors up to? Are there any new entrants to the market that you need to be aware of? Regular plan re-evaluation should enable you to keep ahead of your competition and learn from anything they are doing well (or badly).

New developments: Keep an eye out for industry, technical and legislative developments planned over the next few years that are likely to affect your business or customers. Planning will enable you to manage change effectively and provide opportunities for your business.

Marketing tools: Are you making the best use of all the marketing tools available to you? Following the point above, products and services are regularly launched that can provide new opportunities that weren’t available just a few months ago. As an example, there are many Social Media tools and data management systems that can help you streamline and improve the way you manage your tactical marketing plan.

Media re-evaluation: Have you checked out how each of the marketing mediums you use are working? Readership of your trusty trade magazine may have changed and your customers or prospects may be looking at new sources of influence now. Are the same channels that you historically used still the right ones for your business moving forwards?

Allocating marketing resource: Do you have the structure available to support the marketing goals and plan? Consider that with the changes in plan, there may also be changes needed in internal skills and resources to support it.

Measurement: Perhaps this point should have come first, as evaluating success against your existing goals is the first thing you have to do before setting new ones. But it is also an ongoing process. Like planning, regular monitoring of your success factors is key to keeping your plans on track.

Good luck with your planning, and also with your personal resolutions. You may find that well-planned business will support your personal goals too. So go on – have that glass of wine. You deserve it.