After Labor Day, many U.S. marketing departments are busy
developing new plans for the coming year. New strategies may emerge from the
business and old ones disappear. I like to ask the question, what will we do
differently to achieve the goals we establish? This is both a strategic and a tactical
question to consider.
Here are five questions to challenge yourself and your
marketing team and to force you to take a hard look at F13.
What does success
look like? If you have done a good job of deciding what success looked like
a year ago, you have a handy way to evaluate if you need to do the activity
again, alter it or redeploy the funds. Do you end up doing the same things all
over again expecting a different outcome? (if yes, you may want to Google
Einstein’s definition of insanity) Having metrics in place to measure
activities helps. Even if it is as common place as a trade show, what is the
expected result that makes it important enough to spend $25,000 or $50,000 next
year for the same show? Could you use that money in a different way and
generate significantly more leads?
|Tug of War Marketing |
Are you becoming
predicable to your competition? If year after year you do the same things
without trying something new, perhaps your competition thinks that you are
sitting back and passively marketing yourself. If your marketing has become like a tug of war, you may need to shift gears.
If this is true, are you being lazy
or is what you are doing each year getting you the results your senior
leadership team expects. Branching out into new areas forces you to question
what you have been doing in contrast to new tactical ideas.
|Are you following the herd?|
Are you following the
herd or carving out new territory? Growth has to come from either selling new
or old products to new or old customers.
Maybe there are lots of new customers somewhere where you aren’t promoting
your products? Or, maybe your target audience is just not getting your message
in the way you are delivering it. I like to challenge myself and my team to ask
how we can open up some new opportunities that build on where we are today. It
could be a different channel for product or possibly selling the same product
but to a different influencer within your targeted accounts.
Maybe your plans aren’t
clear and well-understood internally? Maybe you have excellent plans developed with
the funds to execute them, but your field sales organization thinks you are
doing the wrong things. Getting buy-in and alignment is critical and a powerful
way to ensure that everyone is on the same page. When they get input to the
plan, it helps share the ownership of the activity. Sometimes great ideas for
marketing don’t come from the marketing department and you need to embrace the
idea irrespective of who gets the credit. Make sure everyone understands how you get from here to there.
|How can you get from here to there?|
start believing their own marketing message even when the marketplace see
things differently. It is important to make sure you understand if your message
is getting through to both current and prospective clients. Whether you survey
or speak to people by phone, what can you learn about how you are perceived
that can help you gain insight into what you need to change in the coming year.
You may think new customers see you as the industry leader but your offerings
are just too expensive for them. Or, you may find customers telling you that
your positioning is not their top priority. Listen to the market for hints
about things you may be forced to change if you aren’t getting the right
messages reflected back toward you.
So change is coming and you need to challenge yourself and
your team. Nothing worse than walking in circles.
|Are you walking in circles? |
Labels: 2013 Marketing Plans, following the herd, Marketing Moments, What does success look like?