Our monthly contribution from Andrew Leon Walker of Rame Marketing…
Well, the end of the year is pretty close and I’ve no doubt you’ll already have written your 2017 marketing plan, with targets probably based on historical sales figures extrapolated into next year. If my own past experience in industry is anything to go by, the revenue target for 2017 won’t be including any special circumstances – such as winning that very large order in 2016 – where the opportunity won’t come around again for several years. So you’ll have a large revenue gap to fill, despite any sales growth factored into the plan.
So perhaps now is the time to really focus on where you achieved the best marketing return in 2016, where the gaps were and how you can refocus your efforts where they really count, rather than taking the “we’ve always done it this way” approach.
As Albert Einstein said: the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.
By all accounts, business opportunities in 2017 will be tight with the country still unsure of what the “Brexit Effect” will be, so you need to be very sure that attending the same old trade shows and advertising in the same old magazines is the best way forward and represents the best way to spend your marketing budget. The problem with traditional marketing methods is that it can be difficult to measure the Return On Investment (ROI) and too many decisions are made on gut feel or the fear factor.
The great advantage of targeting digital marketing channels is that everything can be measured. Not only that, but resources can be quickly moved to the channels offering the best returns and conversions. Advertising costs can be switched on and off as required and online material can be modified dependent on feedback from the marketplace.
So if you haven’t done so already, do take a day out of the office to audit your marketing activities from this last year. Take a hard-nosed look at what really worked and what didn’t. It’ll be the best investment of time you’ll make this month. And if you’re still to be convinced by online marketing, why not run a couple of pilot programmes in anything from Google AdWords to blogging, with the help of someone who’ll also help you sort out independent measurement of the results.