For most businesses, the end of the year is the time to begin the planning process for the following year. And for many sales and marketing professionals, you have the luxury of starting fresh with a brand new (and hopefully larger) marketing budget.
Take the time to analyze the past year’s marketing performance. Was it all that you hoped it would be or do you drastically need to do better? How can you make sure you do it right next year? Here are some suggestions:
1. Do you have a marketing plan? Has it been updated within the last year? Don’t move reactively through the year. If you do, you’re more likely to make mistakes. Take the time to:
- Research potential advertising options and how they fit with your budget
- Analyze what associations to join/remain involved in and what tradeshows to potentially exhibit
- Review what competitors are up to (visit their websites, newsrooms, etc.) and note any new competitors
- Survey customers’ needs and talk with sales representatives to determine how on-target this year’s marketing really was
2. Analyze your website: Does it need a refresh? Some things to consider when refreshing your website:
- Is it user-friendly?
- Does it adequately represent all of your company’s products/services?
- Does it do a good job of “selling” for you and moving prospects through the sales process?
- Is it optimized for the search engines so that you come up on searches for your product, company or industry?
3. Think about your marketplace, your positioning and what trends will shape the upcoming year. This could relate to your pricing (whether or not to lower or raise prices), your products/services (whether to add more or to narrow your focus). Make a list of trends as well as business opportunities, threats and weaknesses that you want to overcome in the next year.
4. Set some measurable objectives for your business. Whether your goals are to expand into a new industry, pump up your publicity efforts, get more involved in industry associations or update and optimize your website, write down your goals. Align your budget and your manpower next year to ensure that you achieve those goals.
Happy New Year, and good luck!