There are some things in marketing which are so fundamental that they need to be reviewed on a regular basis. For most firms, who make plans in the autumn for the following calendar year, it should probably be late summer. But there’s so much activity then, preparing for the autumn (when there’s more exhibitions, more web traffic and more of just about everything). So let’s resolve to review things at New Year.
That’s now, by the way.
1. How are you trying to position your company? Are you the reliable “big name”, the industry innovator, the small responsive friend, or whatever else you’ve chosen? Has anything changed in the last 12 months which might affect this?
2. How is your marketing budget split up? If it’s the same as last year, the year before, and the year before that …why? Has your market really not changed in that time?
3. How has your website developed in the last year? If the answer is: “well, I just added a few new pages”, and you’re not planning serious investment now to compensate, that’s not good enough. Your prospects expect more with every passing month, and your competitors are probably giving it to them. You should be looking at a thorough reassessment, if not a redesign, every year now.
4. How does your online marketing, away from your website, compare to a year ago? Your email marketing should be increasingly effective, and your use of “social media” (including blogs) should at least be well into the early stages, even if you can hardly describe it as “mature”. Again, your competitors may already have established a significant lead. Have you even checked to see?
5. How is your use of search marketing (e.g Google AdWords) developing? There is no question that this is the most cost-effective way of generating interest in your products, and almost every technical company I know is using it. Type in a few relevant searches into Google and take a look at who’s there. There are plenty of companies who have diverted their entire advertising budget in this direction, and with good reason. But is your AdWords campaign much as it was a year ago? It needs constant care and refinement.
6. How has your press release campaign developed? Both the audience for your press releases, and the content they contain, should be changing with the times. If someone produces and distributes your press releases for you, ask them what they’re doing differently now from a year ago. Expect to hear some good answers if you’re being taken seriously as a client. If you do your own press releases, how has the distribution list changed? How has the balance of the magazines and websites which are actually publishing the things changed?
7. How much of your marketing can only be justified by inertia? We’ve all been there. “We do this because, er, we always have done”. Or “Head Office probably expects it”. Or worst of all, “I can’t say no to that sales rep”.
It’s New Year’s Resolution time. That’s all I have to say.