When was the last time you came into work, looked at your calendar, and worked through everything you had planned, in order, without interruptions? In the marketing community at large, such days can be anywhere from rare to inconceivable. So, it’s critical that you plan your marketing strategy in advance. Whether you plan 1 quarter or 1 year in advance, let’s look at 5 ways a well-defined marketing strategy can pay dividends.
Light the Spark
When our marketing team sit down to plan the year ahead, we can quickly reel off 6 or 7 topics we would like to spend a month focusing on. Once these are in the calendar, we have a proper brainstorm of what else should be covered. The balance between keeping each month fresh, and just filling space, means we delve into every corner of our product suite. Often, we come up with a new angle as a result, which can inspire our creative juices as we line up new blogs, webinars and whitepapers.
The Main Event
Attracting attention at trade shows and exhibitions is a particular skill. Flashy signage and expensive giveaways will only get you so far. In fact, you will probably attract the wrong people to your stand; freebie-hunters, not decision-makers. Knowing where the event fits into your strategy allows your branding and your staff to focus on a specific section of your offering. This means you can rehearse your conversation openers and generate better leads as a result. Alternatively, build your calendar around targeting different industries. That way, you can choose what shows to attend, especially one outside your usual scope (and hopefully away from your competitors too!)
If your marketing team is anything like ours, there aren’t enough hours to produce all the content that you’d like. Our “Blog Bank” has about 80 bajillion ideas in it on any given day. Planning out your topics in advance at least allows you to set specific time aside to produce a specific piece of content. In addition, having a set time frame to talk about a topic lets you see where you have more than enough content, and where there are significant gaps.
GATOR TOP TIP: if you don’t have much content for a particular topic, put it later in the year, so you have more writing time. Genius.
At the end of the year, looking back at everything you’ve achieved, are you always able to account for every spike and trough in interest and engagement? If you’ve stuck to your strategy, it should be immediately obvious which topics are really resonating with your audience, and which are falling flat. This will then form your strategy for next year, as you can align your webinars, collateral and email copy accordingly. For example, CommuniGator managed to become an authority on GPDR for B2B marketers in early 2018. Our challenge for 2019 is maintaining the interest of the new hot leads we gathered through those resources.
The Human Touch
“Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” Nowhere is this more true than getting your strategy in place. Whether it’s staff turnover, or simply illness, being short-staffed can shoot holes in your action plan. Having a strategy which everyone is familiar with deals with this issue. This is especially useful when you have specific team members handling content writing, social media and events, which all need to come together for a successful campaign.
So what are you waiting for?
It’s never too late to get a strategy in place! With most of January now in the rear-view mirror, get your team together and decide what you’re going to do in Q2. If you need a bit of help to find your feet, check out our strategy consultancy services. We’ll get you up and running, and teach you how to put everything in place for a less stressful 2019.