With just a few weeks left in the year, you might be setting new business goals for 2017. You might be busy trying to create a marketing plan and budget to create awareness, boost engagement, drive conversion, and build loyalty.
To stay relevant, gain a competitive edge, and overcome the marketing fatigue overwhelming your prospects, you need to allocate sufficient amount to the different aspects of your marketing plan to have the biggest impact:
- Market research
- Addressing new markets/new buyer personas
- Continuation of the current marketing mix
- Utilising the martech and adtech innovations
- Developing the skills of marketing personnel
- Metrics and analysis
Though you don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future, that doesn’t mean you can’t draw upon these five comprehensive insights to kick-start the New Year on the right foot with some informed predictions and get the buy-in from the management for the budget.
Insight #1: Examine 2016 plans, actual sales, and metrics
- What were your 2016 strategies?
- How effective were they in meeting your marketing and sales goals?
- Where would you like to make improvements to prevent losing sales, by correcting things that are in your control?
Insight #2: Take a hard look at the customer data
Do a quick check on where your industry is headed and ask yourself if you have systems in place to capture relevant data that can help you understand
- Customers changing needs, wants, and characteristics
- How your prospects prefer to engage with you along the buying journey using the physicals and digital touchpoints
Insight #3: 'What's new?', 'What's hot?', and 'What's next?'
What’s new - programmatic ads, digital assistants like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.
What’s hot – marketing automation, omnichannel or cross-device marketing, video content, app indexing in search engines, IoT, artificial intelligence.
What’s next – personalisation
With mass target approach becoming passé, smartphones overtaking laptops when prospects conduct their initial search, saturated content in the digital medium, to add real value to your customers and standout, you need to shift your focus on narrower niches, towards more targeted channels, targeted content to meet an individual prospects desires, preferences, and interests. Though this will undeniably generate lower volume, the conversion rate and the quality of engagement will be much higher.
Insight #4: Compare yourself and benchmark with the best-in-class in your industry
The easiest way to get started is to compare your website to your top three competitors’ and best-in-class companies in your industry. Honestly, pick the one you will call first based on your website visit experiences, social media interactions, personalisation, content quality and assess where you stand.
Insight #5: Recalibrate talent game plan
With multiple channels, techniques, tools, and technology, take a relook at the existing skills in your organisation. Identify the skill gap, as lack of proper skills, will prevent you from being effective and achieving the desired results. Hence, to embark on your digital transformation journey, you need to invest in technical acumen and hiring the right talent who have the attitude to learn and deliver on the job.
Conclusion – when, where, and how much to invest
Now having identified the dots you need to connect, set the goal, and consider the different elements, channels to fit your marketing approach. Identify
- What is the cost and how will it impact the marketing budget?
- What are the resources and people strength that will be needed to implement and support it?
- What are the implementation timelines and associated risks?
- How to align the different departments to ensure two-way conversation between the internal and external stakeholders?
- How to monitor the expected results, how can it be used to improve other marketing efforts?
Though there is no shortage of tools and techniques, what you need is a concrete direction and a full alignment and collaboration between your internal (employees) and external customers (buyers), website, applications, networks, and platforms to make it meaningful and to gain a competitive edge. So, a part of your 2017 budget is the investment you need to make to embark on your organisation’s digital transformation journey.
I hope these insights have stirred your thoughts, and help you plan your SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result Oriented and Time-bound) 2017 marketing budget! All the best to implement the plan with a mix of proven strategies and few new experiments, track it, analyse the results, and take corrective action.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)