It’s that time of year again. As a business owner, or as someone wearing the marketing hat in your organisation, you’re diving into your marketing plan for the new financial year and deliberating over what to include to position your business for growth. When you consider all the elements related to marketing these days—branding, messaging, websites, social media, SEO/SEM, content creation, events, analytics—it’s a challenge to decide on which elements are going to be best for your business.
How do you know what to include in your marketing plan?
You’ll no doubt want to include tactics that worked in the past, but could they be updated for more effectiveness? And are there things you want to forget about altogether? Our advice is to focus on two or three things that proved successful for you over the last year. If you are the CEO or business leader, you’ll have a good birds-eye view on overall strategy and results – so make sure your marketing team or whoever does your marketing is across this.
One important thing to note when deliberating on a marketing strategy: You shouldn't be thinking about your marketing as one-off campaigns but as a well structured, holistic and ongoing plan which takes a consistent marketing approach. As a business leader, you create a long-term vision for the company and your marketing should follow suit.
There are a few elements that we advise businesses to include in their new marketing strategies that we’re sharing with you here - but really if you need help setting your 2018/19 strategy – please do make use of the Mogrify offer at the end of this blog (a complimentary marketing strategy phone consultation).
Find your why
You need to really know WHY you're different from your competitors and what value you bring to your customers. If you don't know this, your marketing will be a wasted effort. Working with your internal marketer or external marketing services provider will be invaluable as they may not see your organisation in the way that you do and can add constructive direction.
We find that our customers gain a huge amount of value during our initial strategy workshops as we are able to take an ‘outsider’ view – (albeit an informed one!) without being bogged down in all of the nitty gritty detail of the organisation.
Define your target markets
This is a requirement in any marketing strategy so it’s good to get clear about it because it will drive so many of your efforts. Who are you targeting? What can you offer them? You need to show that you talk their language and have expertise in the industry in which they operate.
Especially within the technology industry, being everything to everyone just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to show you have specialised experience in different areas, whether that’s a certain industry, or within a particular group of people e.g. CFO’s.
Know your buyer personas
Who are the individuals you are targeting? Why should they care about what you have to say? How are you going to help them do their job better? Getting a well-rounded view of your buyers will help you deliver what they need, when they need it.
It’s important to think about channel selection here too. Once you have your message, and you know who you want to target, you need to get savvy with how you are going to reach them. There’s no good marketing on social media if your buyer persona doesn’t engage on social media.
Build a customer-focused content strategy
Gartner predicts that over 90% of tech companies’ content will be focused on the company instead of the customer. Don’t fall into this pattern. Create content that positions your business as a source for solutions for prospects and customers. Ensure your content is informative, educational, and answers a real question. Content is about quality, not quantity these days so it’s important that with every piece you show that your organisation understands your customer’s world.
Create more video content
Video content needs a section of its own. Studies show that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text so if you want to be noticed, you will want to introduce some videos into your content strategy. We’ve had a surge in customers asking us to put together video content from them – whether this is video case studies or animations – we love doing it all!
Select the appropriate channels
This is very much related to point 3 above. Where do your target markets hang out? Are they online / offline? Do they like events? For B2B companies, it is vital to have a social media strategy that focuses on business-based platforms such as Linkedin where you can post regularly and send personalised messages. Platforms such as Instagram might be cool, but do your target market of CFO’s really hang out on there?
Align sales and marketing
When sales and marketing are working together, the less important it becomes to delineate the two, and the more it becomes a simple differentiation of day-to-day activities and skills. How will this happen in everyday life within your organisation? How are you, the business leader, going to enable this to happen? Have a read of our recent post focusing on this topic.
Create a mobile strategy
Mobile is no longer just a consumer channel. Google states that 50% of B2B queries are made on mobile phones so it’s critical that you’re available when prospects and customers want to access your content.
For B2B websites, this means at least adopting a mobile strategy that includes having a mobile responsive website. We are surprised every time we see a new customer’s website that is not responsive when we know the numbers of people trying to access their site via mobile devices. It should be marketing 101 these days.
Measure effectiveness with tracking and analytics
Your investment in marketing initiatives should be tracked so that you know what’s working and what’s not as effective. Today’s measurement and analytics tools give you the ability to understand how your site, blog, social media or ad campaign is performing and allows for real-time adjustments. Chatting regularly about how things are tracking is something you want to factor into your plan.
Just a word of caution here, however, be really careful with what you want to track. For example, what does number of article reads really mean? What does number of likes on LinkedIn really mean? If you have new leads coming through, can you really track EXACTLY where they came from (content marketing, social media, or word of mouth)? Marketing is so interlinked nowadays it is becoming increasingly difficult to be explicit about how that lead first heard about you.
Creating a marketing strategy for the new financial year can be exciting, yet challenging. Mogrify can help you determine the best overall vision for the year and then execute to make sure that your plan works for your business to create both short- and long-term growth.
To get an overview of how effective your marketing strategy is currently, and see how you compare against other companies, take our quick (and free) B2B online Marketing Assessment.