Clare Scott: 2017: What’s your plan?

Clare Scott
Clare Scott

Sorted out your marketing plan for 2017? Reward yourself with a screen break and a cuppa. Not quite there yet? Read on. Here are some easy ways to get started:

1. Plug in what’s predictable

Most businesses have some form of cyclical or predictable activity, whether these are seasonal promotions, quarterly customer mailings or commitments to major trade shows. Slot these into your spreadsheet first. Then stop and…

2. Take a long hard look (at your past performance)

Before you commit to a repeat series of ads or your ‘usual’ stand space, take stock of how well these things worked for you in 2016. Ideally, you’ll have evaluated the activity as you’ve gone along. If not, now’s the time to try. Speak to colleagues and check out any hard evidence (website hits following an advertisement, enquiry levels after a trade show, etc.).  Fine tune your spreadsheet accordingly.

3. Assess opportunities

Regardless of your industry sector, chances are there’s something new on the media landscape. Scope out fresh on and offline titles, blogging opportunities, networking events, conferences and social media channels.  Pencil in those you’d like to pursue. Feeling cautious? Find ways to test the water such as ‘walking’ new trade shows rather than exhibiting.

4. Take a long hard look (at your competitors)

When was the last time you looked at what the competition was up to? If you want your customers to keep buying from you, there’s no room for complacency. Take some time to suss out your key competitors’ latest developments – and how they’re communicating these to the marketplace. If need be, adjust your own planned activity accordingly.

5. Build in flexibility

It’s good – if not essential – to have some form of plan to work to. That said, a marketing plan should be an active working tool.  Build in some flexibility to both the budget and your activity levels. The team shouldn’t be on their knees if you need to put out an extra mailshot at short notice. Speaking of whom, make sure your colleagues are on board with your plans. That way, they’ve a far greater chance of coming to fruition.

Here’s to a productive promotional year ahead.