5 Simple Tips to Start Your Year with a Plan

I love developing Marketing plans. It’s addictive.

Envisioning your dreams and putting together a plan to make them a reality is immensely satisfying. It’s more than that though, in this dynamic & competitive global marketplace it’s a necessity. As John F Kennedy said “efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction”. Starting the New Year with a plan will set you up to drive profitable sales, and grow your business this year.

Here are 5 simple ways you can start your year with a Plan:

  1. Start by Defining Your Positioning. Before you develop a Marketing Plan, it pays to be clear on what you stand for, and what you don’t. By ensuring you have a strong understanding of your market, business and customers, you can establish a compelling, differentiated offering to maximise consumer appeal. Whether you position yourself as offering top performance; higher quality; cutting edge; being one of a kind; championing a cause; offering great value; understanding your customers better than anyone else; or delivering your own unique advantage, it’s all about delivering something important to your customers in a way that’s better or different to others. Once you’ve defined (or confirmed) what you stand for, it’s important to create a personality around your brand – setting the tone, creative style and approach which you will take through every element of your communication, from website to social media, advertising and signage to uniforms and packaging.
  2. Leverage Owned, Earned and Bought Media: Firstly consider how you can use all of your existing assets & branded properties (or Owned Media) such as your store, website, database, social media, and employee advocacy to reach new people, tell a story or publicise an offer. Leverage any Earned Media including media coverage or publicity, references & recommendation, to build credibility, drive awareness of your offer and create connections. Factor in Bought Media where you’ll need to pay for advertising, brand or business exposure to drive business growth, set a budget and determine the most effective media channels to reach your new or potential customers.
  3. Include a Calendar of Support. One of the easiest ways to implement a Marketing Plan is by putting it into a calendar format. Identify your busiest times, key events, and biggest sales opportunities across the year and then create a calendar of events. Include sales promotions and special offers; advertising campaigns; new product launches; events; direct consumer communication and collaborations. In busy patches you may need to split actions down to individual days, or you may have weekly actions, but make sure you capture when you need to start working on key activities as well as when they’ll be in market.
  4. Ensure your objectives are SMART. “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” ― Winston Churchill. By setting objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound your plan will start delivering results before you know it. With analytics available for websites, direct consumer communication, social media and most engagement platforms, it’s easier than ever to track the performance of your plans in market, allowing you to make tweaks and adjustments to sharpen them as you go. We also recommend taking time out from your day to day business on a quarterly basis to check on what’s working – and what’s not. By setting clear and actionable objectives up front & monitoring performance throughout the year, your Marketing plan will be more targeted, cost efficient and successful.
  5. Write it Down. The clincher in business planning? Writing down your plan actually helps to make it happen! Management studies since the 1970s have consistently shown that people are 50-80% more likely to reach and exceed their financial and productivity goals when they’re written down.[1] Why? Because you’ll be more committed to a plan that you’ve taken the time to get onto paper; it’s likely to be more clearly articulated or crafted; you will be better positioned to make decisions and allocate resources in line with your vision if it’s top of mind; and of course it will help to keep you focused on the bigger picture through everything that you do. In fact, we recommend putting your vision or goals somewhere where you’ll see them – on a pin board, as your screen saver, printed as a mouse pad, or framed with an inspiring image.

 

It’s often quoted that “a goal without a plan is just a wish” Antoine de Saint Exupery. Starting your New Year with a Marketing plan is not just immensely satisfying but it will turn your wishes into tangible business results. No wonder it’s addictive!

 

Want some help? We’ll help develop a tailored marketing plan that will grow your business in 2018. Go to our offers page or call Sarah on 0413 486 833 today!

[1] Forbes Woman “Why You Should be Writing Down Your Goals” by Ellevate, 8th April 2014



Author: Sarah Ford
BlueFish Director & Marketing Specialist, Sarah Ford, has more than 18 years experience in brand management – 10 of those at Marketing Manager and Director levels and a further eight years in Retail Management. Passionate about marketing, Sarah understands the complexities of the consumer landscape and is known for her ability to create practical, cost-effective plans, which stand-out with consumers and meet business objectives. Sarah established BlueFish in 2009 and continues to provide marketing support on a campaign or project basis. Recent clients include JBS Foods, FreeTV Australia, Unilever, Paradigm Foods, MFA, Hipnotic Content, Jurlique Int, Moving Mannequins, SCAD Research Inc, TVM Fitness, Belinda Wincote Floral & Art and many more.