As we approach the end of financial year, tax is at the top of everyone’s mind. It’s a great time to discuss with your accountant changes your business may go through in the future and I’m sure they will give you advice on how to plan for the coming financial year. While these discussions are taking place, it can be beneficial to assess how your marketing efforts have impacted your results and how this has bought you closer to your business goals. Use this time to reflect on where your marketing has taken your business and determine the path you want it to follow in the future.
Compare the financial performance of the business with the previous year and assess the contribution of your various channels. Comparing the analytics and insights from digital channels will help to determine where your resources have been spent and what got the most bang for buck. When comparing, it’s important to take into consideration the customer journey, and not just the last click that bought the user to a conversion.
Take a look at how your competitors are marketing. What channels do they use and why do they use them? It’s easy to get bogged down in what your competitors are doing, just keep in mind that you want to differentiate yourself from them and not just mimic what they do. One way to do this is to take a look at other industries that have similar customers to see how they are reaching them. A graphic designer operating in the B2B environment may have similar clients to a business insurance broker or a workplace training provider. How do they reach their customers and what response to they get? I like looking at other industries because they make me look outside of my marketing bubble and I gain new perspective.
Once you know what has worked and what hasn’t, it’s easier to allocate resources accordingly. Know how much you have to work with and how much you want to contribute to campaigns so you can allocate an appropriate amount to the campaigns that deliver the highest ROI. It may sound simple but there are so many businesses that have an ‘ad-hoc’ approach to their budgeting and this ends up costing them more that it could have. While determining the cost of channels and the advertising itself is important, take into consideration the man hours it will take to execute the tasks. There are so many agencies, specialists and freelancers accessible all around the world making some tasks more cost effective if they were outsourced.
This is where the specifics come in. Where do you want your business to be in the next 1, 3 and 5 years? How are you going to get there? Create steps to make your vision happen. One step should compliment another so while an annual marketing plan is a necessity for any business, don’t forget about the big picture of your organization and make sure your actions support the mission statement.