Conventional wisdom says all businesses finished their 2012 marketing plan by November, wrapped it in a bow and are ready to implement come January 1.
I venture to guess that is an overly optimistic perspective for many businesses. In November, most small businesses are striving to finish up the current year in a good state.
In fact, January is a great time to plan for the rest of the year. The previous year’s results are final; holiday vacations are over, and employees are refreshed and ready to dive in.
As you start focusing on the new year, consider these tips in developing your 2012 marketing plan.
Your 2012 Marketing Plan
What do you hope your business will look like in 2012? Understanding your goals is key to developing your marketing plan. If you can answer the following questions, you can plan to succeed:
- How do you want 2012 to be different from 2011?
- How do you want it to be the same?
- Will your market environment change in 2012?
- Who should be your customers in 2012?
- Should you offer any new products and services this year to meet those customers’ needs?
- What are your revenue and profitability goals?
Evaluate your marketing activities from the previous year. Being a spreadsheet fanatic, I make a spreadsheet of all activities, including their cost, metrics and attributable revenue. For instance, with a pay-per-click advertising campaign, your metrics will include how many visits to your website or how many phone calls you received.
Using this information, determine which marketing activities you will stop doing this year. You should stop any activities that don’t help meet your goals or have no hope of being profitable this year. Easy, right?
Now, decide which marketing activities you will continue and if you need any new initiatives or strategies. If you expect 2012 to be quite different from 2011, your marketing activities will very likely change dramatically. Perhaps your goal is to connect more deeply with your local community, so you might change from a strategy of print and TV advertising to sponsoring and developing local events.
Next, consider your marketing “capital improvements”— investments you made last year whose benefits continue into this year. Perhaps you redesigned your website, invested in a CRM system or wrapped your service fleet in new graphics. Based on your goals, are there any large investments you need to make this year?
Taking a look at all the marketing activities that will help you reach your 2012 goals, create a budget and timeframe for implementing them. Determine if you need additional marketing partners or if your current resources are sufficient.
Finally, make sure you actually implement your marketing plan! Get started right away… after all, 2012 is already upon us.
Need help with your 2012 marketing plan? Sometimes an independent assessment can help you prioritize your goals and put things into perspective. I’d be glad to talk with you… just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 513.833.4203.