When a new year arrives, we often find ourselves reflecting on the past with an eye on the future. In business, this means we’re looking for ways to improve performance, generate more revenue, and find additional customers. So how do we turn these into actionable items and avoid the “new years’ resolution” pitfalls?
By developing attainable goals, realistic objectives and a strategic marketing plan for your business, you’ll start the year off on the right foot. Doing so will allow you to face your marketing challenges head-on in order to know what to do, when, where, how and why. You’ll also know where you are going and how to get there.
How do you get there?
Just as a map illustrates the best way to reach a destination, a marketing road map serves as a guide that outlines how your company will connect to the market to create revenue-generating opportunities. Your marketing road map will provide details about the proper “marketing routes” that will work best for your business.
Strategies and tactics designed to accomplish your objectives are critical to the effectiveness of your marketing road map. Include the best methods for connecting with your buying market by bridging the gap between your offerings and your potential customers. Create a foothold in your market where your presence will be visible, known and stand out from competitors.
Within the road map, you will want a timeline for executing the plan; resources to implement the components; milestones for measuring progress; reporting for documenting success; and a supporting budget.
Wise marketing investments
A key component to your marketing road map is your budget, which should be considered as an investment that pays a return. Like most investments, a desired return often factors in time. Be patient. Don’t fall into the trap of whacking your marketing budget at the first sign of poor revenue or sales performance. Your marketing investment dollars represent the fuel for your revenue-generating efforts. Cutting your sales fuel supply will only create sputter in your revenue-generating engine and deliver mediocre results.
Establish realistic expectations
When you create a marketing road map and the investment dollars required to implement the plan, place measures and expectations against these dollars. For example, suppose you were planning to build a new website. As you create the budget for the project, create a list of objectives and ROI expectations for the new site.
Some marketing tactics will have an immediate and direct impact toward your business goals while others are considered “enablers” for sales and business development efforts. The point is to have measures in place so that the reason for your investment is clear to all. You may otherwise find yourself spending your marketing dollars with false expectations that only lead to frustration.
Focus and commit
Like any investment, your marketing dollars will yield their highest return when you commit to maximizing them through your efforts and focus. Taking this approach mentally and tactically will make your marketing investment rewarding. Even when economic slumps occur, avoid the temptation of slamming on the marketing brakes. Instead, juice up your sales and business development engine with high-octane fuel, and your revenue opportunities will keep your business moving upward.
Preparing for roadblocks and the unexpected
When finalizing your marketing road map, make sure you plan for the unexpected. As a traveler often finds, obstacles and unexpected events can hinder momentum. For your business, it could mean aggressive project schedules, a new competitor, a lost customer, budget cuts and the like. Although it is nearly impossible to avoid all obstacles, being ready for the unexpected will help reduce the impact.
Staying on track
Finally, track your progress. Managing your marketing road map and performing routine checks will help determine where change may be required on a project or re-prioritizing a particular marketing tactic is needed. While the primary framework of your marketing road map remains unchanged, you do want to have enough flexibility to make any required adjustments that will improve it. Stick with it and commit to working the plan. Taking this approach to your marketing planning and execution will help ensure that your new year starts off on the right track and continues to progress along the pathway to your desired business destination.