When it’s time to look ahead and pave a marketing path for the future, you’ll try to be as thorough and ambitious as possible. Reevaluating existing campaigns, setting up new experiments to find some untapped potential, selecting must-attend events to entice possible prospects… Just some of the items that will make their appearance on the slides of your marketing team’s presentation.
To make sure your bases are covered, we have compiled a list of 11 questions you need to ask yourself when finalising your future marketing plans.
1. Am I picking my battles?
The first thing you want to ask yourself: “What are my goals for the year?”
For example: Do you want to reduce churn by 200% or do you want to increase acquisition by 300%?
That’s right: “or.”
Choose a focal point for the upcoming year. Don’t try to shoehorn in every ambition into a single year. If you try to accomplish many things at once, you’ll probably end up doing none of them properly. Even if you have the people and the resources, aligning them will bring more clarity and produce better results than splitting up the responsibilities and budgets.
Dramatic overhauls tend to fail more often than not.
2. Am I prioritizing the right things?
Double down on what works. Might seem an obvious one, but you’d be surprised about how often we start chasing rainbows when there’s still a lot of potential in our “sure things.” We get it. It’s fun to get excited about upcoming marketing trends. Influencer marketing, chatbots, VR ads, etc., all seem to promise us game-changing possibilities. But before you go experimenting, take a look at where the main share of your success comes from. Have you allocated enough resources to sustain this success? Wouldn’t innovating in these existing channels yield better results than innovating in new, unexplored territory? A 1% increase in revenue in your existing marketing mix might be worth more than a 100% gamble on something you’re not quite familiar with yet. Bet on a sure thing first and foremost.
Not sure which channels deserve your love, and which ones should be binned? Use our BCG Matrix for Marketing Channels.
3. Where can I trim some fat?
While you’re looking at your existing marketing mix and ways to optimize it, take a look at the marketing tools and services you’re using as well. Too many marketing teams (and companies in general, really) eagerly buy new toys but tend to forget about them when usage drops or becomes non-existent. Forgotten subscriptions can add up real fast. Remember that email automation tool you signed up for two years ago? No? Your credit card does.
Also, as marketing tech progresses, reassess your arsenal from time to time and research if you’re still getting the most bang for your buck. You know what you need, and maybe you have several tools that do the job, but if there’s a solution out there that does it all for two-thirds of the price, it’s definitely worth taking a look at.
The same goes for your team members. While letting go of people is nowhere near as easy as unsubscribing from software, both need to happen sometimes. A team is only as performant as its weakest link.
4. Am I going to be where my best customers are?
Great digital marketers understand their customer base. They understand that not all customers are the same and that there’s no such thing as one fixed blueprint for “a customer.”
Instead of trying to embrace every single customer, focus on your best customers. Similar to getting the most out of your existing marketing mix, concentrating on your best customers generally produces better results.
A couple of questions for you to answer:
- Which type of customers makes you the most money?
- What kind of people do you like to interact with?
- Can you characterize your best customers through a buyer persona?
- What does their life look like?
- What challenges are they encountering?
- How do they search for a solution to these challenges?
- Is your offer the best solution to their challenges?
Customer centricity does not imply that the client is always right. Read the following article, Explained: Customer Centricity & Customer Heterogeneity
5. Am I patient enough for long term gains?
Prioritizing and doubling down on what already works (see question 2) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to innovate and think about the future. On the contrary, as soon as you get your bases covered for today’s and tomorrow’s gains, start working on the day after tomorrow or your long-term strategy. Some things just take time, like building a trustworthy brand or getting traction with your content marketing. Don’t get discouraged if your campaigns aren’t giving you instant results. It’s often a game of marginal gains in the beginning.
6. Am I flexible and ready to adapt?
Even when you’ve got your short and long-term strategy all figured out, there’s still an area you should always cover: The unexpected. Maintaining a flexible mindset can be the difference between enduring and bankruptcy.
The challenges won’t always take the size of a global pandemic or an economic crisis. Yet, even small, unforeseen changes can leave quite a mark. Think about social media platforms that change algorithms overnight or major brands that decide to have a go at your market space.
If your organization’s value proposition suddenly shifts, every marketing item has to be adjusted as well. Updating your website, landing pages, social media account information, one-pagers… even everyone’s email signature should be feasible in a matter of days, not weeks.
Flexibility is needed to jump on unexpected opportunities as well. Society could suddenly make a big deal about something that relates to your product or services. An agile marketing department has the upper hand to go viral with a well-timed and relevant campaign.
Always keep your strategy lean and have some budget to spend, just in case. Don’t lock it up in one place or spend it all on up-front deals. Self-serving channels like Google or Linkedin allow you to invest or withdraw on the fly. In contrast, offline ad space can make you sit through a deal for quite some time. If you didn’t negotiate some “ifs” upfront, you might face a rough patch.