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5 Reasons Why You Should Create a 2015 Marketing Plan Even If You Don’t Want One

No doubt with the new year quickly rolling around in just around the corner, your company is preparing to tighten up its business plans.

As much as you’re tempted to just stick with the same old business and marketing plan, with hopes that it will help to increase profits, it’s time to go back in the saddle and update your marketing strategy for 2015.

Here are a few ideas to help you…

1) Taking advantage of new technology will help you win the race.

We can all agree that technology is here to stay, with new web trends, mobile phones and tablets, marketing tactics should accommodate emerging tech.

To generate more profits in the upcoming year, figure out fresh ways to deliver content and your service through these new mediums.

Ask yourself, has your company delved into the mobile app development industry?

Is your online presence strong?

These are just a couple of things that should be apart of your planning when developing a 2015 marketing plan.

2) Top brands are boosting ad spending.

According to Ad Age major auto brands such as Audi and Chevy have announced their plans to launch more television advertisements. While you may not have a Fortune 500 marketing budget, such moves from top brands inspires ideas you can borrow for your marketing, on a smaller scale.

Create a new marketing strategy that allows you to advertise on emerging platforms, if it can be measured for ROI.

3) What worked and what didn’t work?

As great as some of our marketing ideas seemed for 2014, you have to admit that not all of those supposed “great” ideas worked. Understanding where you went wrong with past efforts will help you determine where things fell apart.

Also, it provides concrete evidence that supports continuing or changing your marketing strategy. This is one of the most important things you should think about when creating or updating your marketing plan for 2015.

4) New products and services deserve fresh planning.

Has your company added new products or services to the product mix? Perhaps you’re launching a new product or service soon?

Using the same marketing tactics for new products and services may not work as well as past marketing for your existing products and services. You want to get consumers hyped about the latest things you have in store. This requires a change in marketing focus.

5) Move a level up on your competitors.

You can bet your last dollar that your company’s competitors are brainstorming different ways to surpass you and to stay on top. This means that they are creating fresh and maybe innovative marketing tactics that will entice clients, customers and patients.

You may want to do the same if you want to stay a step ahead. Including innovative tactics on your marketing calendar will help make your upcoming year profitable.

Even though last year’s plan may have worked fairly well for you, why not shoot for better results with an updated marketing plan for this upcoming year?

Retail Marketing Planning: How to Get Started With Marketing Planning

Marketers struggle with marketing campaign planning for different reasons: incomplete or inaccessible historical data, new marketing channels with no obvious comparables, lack of expertise or understanding of what really matters. We’ll explore how to address more of these issues in upcoming blog posts.

Understand Your Channels – Differentiate between Marketing and Order Channels

Even the most sophisticated marketers create confusion by using the word “channel” interchangeably between Marketing and Order Channels.

Marketing Channels are those that you spend your marketing efforts in: direct mail, email, display/retargeting, natural and paid search, affiliate, social media, etc. Order Channels are ones in which a customer places an order: call center, ecommerce/internet, and retail. Mobile is unique in that it can be categorized either way – for example, if a company has a mobile app which serves as a marketing tool, and a customer can also order through, the channel can be classified as either a Marketing or Order Channel. Keep in mind that the categorization should be consistent.

Plan Marketing Channels, then Forecast by Order Channel

Since you have much more control over marketing campaigns than where a customer will choose to place an order, start by planning your marketing campaigns. Each company has its own set of terminology, but there are typically three levels of marketing planning, depending on the complexity and depth of each channel. I’ll define my definitions for clarity:

Campaign – Overall theme that the marketing supports. This can be a season (Winter, Summer, Holiday), event (webinar, concert), membership drive (wine club, subscription-based purchase), promotion (semi-annual sale, clearance). Crosses between Marketing Channel and Communication since both are instrumental in supporting the campaign.

Marketing Channel - direct mail, email, search, display, affiliate, social media (same as above)

Communication – individual marketing treatments such as an email, postcard, Facebook ad, mobile ad, SEM ad.

For some marketing channels, such as direct mail, marketers typically plan at the Communication level. Direct mail requires more advance planning since print orders need to be placed, customer lists modeled and hygiened, list rentals ordered, and postage costs calculated.

Other marketing channels need less rigor and can be planned at the channel level. For example, if your affiliate program is fairly even and predictable, it probably makes sense to plan at the channel level rather than have individual plans for each publisher.

Depending on your business, you may also plan by Campaign. An example of this is a large semi-annual sale promotion – you would plan communications in each of your channels to support the promotion. You may send a catalog or direct mail piece, a series of emails, a social media contest, and targeted display ads to reinforce your message.

Increases in Circulation: Need to Account for Growth and Lower Performance

The next step is to take historic data as the plan starting point. Response rates, average order, click through rates, and other relevant metrics are helpful for planning for communications targeted at similar audiences.

Two common mistakes that marketers make are:

  1. Not adjusting for audience growth/shrinkage (if the same quality audience has grown, you can assume a similar response rate even though your circulation size has changed).
  2. Increasing/decreasing the audience of a different quality without accounting for a difference in performance. This is important – by increasing circulation, the quality of the audience will decrease and the expected revenue per person for the incremental circulation will be lower.

One way to determine the revenue increase/decrease per person for different quality circulation is based on a loose rule of thumb (divide the % increase by three so that the larger the increase in circulation, the greater the drop-off in revenue per person).

Using historical data and trend, you can then forecast your sales curves by order channel. Most large companies that have multiple order channels typically forecast by fiscal week for both call center staffing and managing the revenue/inventory predictions. Smaller and more internet-based companies may choose to forecast on a monthly basis.

What Magic Happens When A Business Marketing Plan Comes Together?

For most business owners the key to success lies in a solid marketing plan with strong marketing tactics.

A marketing plan is a blueprint that outlines a company’ overall marketing efforts.

There are a ton of plan templates readily available on the internet.

Taking advantage of these plan templates and marketing calendars can help determine the success or failure of your business in 2015

Now, what happens when a marketing plan comes together?

1. You will discover who your best most important audience is and what your clients want from you

Hopefully you are creating and offering products and services with a specific target audience in mind.

However, you may find that clients, customers and patients other than your targeted audience will also been able to benefit from what you have to offer.

Understanding who your audience is a key component in marketing, sales and improving your services and/or products.

2. Increases awareness of your company

Most people won’t pay any attention to your company, unless they need you. They only care about themselves, it human nature.

A marketing plan enables you to formulate a way to help future clients see the benefits of using your product or service. When done right, this establishes your credibility in the marketplace and hopefully solidifies your business as a reliable source.

3. You will be prepared.

When you have a good marketing strategy you’ll be surprised at how fast your company will be able to respond to unexpected marketing and developments from your competition.

A well-written plan that covers all bases will include a projection on possible threats and detailed ways you can respond or capitalize off them.

4. Obtaining Finance

Companies, including small businesses often need to acquire extra financing.

A well-thought out business plan along with detailed marketing is evidence of good planning which could be extremely helpful in obtaining loans.

Without a solid business plan and marketing strategy, even the most profitable business would have a difficult time getting financing. Free sample marketing plans are readily available online, they can serve as good examples while saving you time creating your documents.

5. Save Money

One of the biggest benefits of a marketing strategy that your business is more likely to save money.

The average marketing plan includes a set budget that will be used in your marketing efforts for the year.

Yes, by outline your marketing plans, and specifying how much money is going to be used to support various marketing efforts it helps your company save a lot of money on unplanned marketing campaigns.

If you and your team hasn’t sat down to develop a marketing plan for the year, it’s time to do so now.

Start off with a marketing template to help outline your company’s marketing strategies the expand from there.

There are so many benefits from having a marketing plan that it would be insane to start 2015 without one.