Planning your Marketing in 2018
As 2017 comes to a close and you’re planning for some much needed time off with your family over the holidays, readying yourself for 2018 likely runs a distant third to settling in with a rum and eggnog and your favourite holiday movie.
While I always suggest holding strategy meetings for the upcoming year at the beginning of Q4, when you’re a small business owner, your marketing tactics might lean more to the reactive side. With that in mind, as you go into the “off” season, here are some things to consider – so that when you’re ready for planning mode in January, you’ll have a head start on where you’d like to take your company in 2018.
It’s not a surprise to see organizations cutting expenses across the board in an attempt to ride out the unpredictability of the economy. Rebel against this thought… and be one of the brave and successful companies who realize that dollars spent on marketing are an investment, not an expense.
Don’t have a budget?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a rule of thumb to determine a marketing budget that works for all organizations. It depends on company size, revenue, years in business and goals. BUT you can safely bet that your marketing budget should land somewhere between 5-20% of your gross revenue.
Before jumping straight into the execution of marketing tactics (such as social media, website, etc.) you will want to have an established brand to provide the direction that will lead you into those marketing tactics.
Don’t have a brand?
Brand is not a do or do not proposition. Everyone has one. But what is brand and why does it matter?
- Brand is intangible. It is the collection of thoughts and feelings that a person or audience holds for you, your product or service, and even your industry. It exists everywhere and everywhen an emotional connection is made.
- Brands exist in the hearts and minds of your audience. Your brand doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to them. The most you can do is be true to yourself, find an audience that cares, and speak directly to them.
- Branding is the art of differentiation, authenticity, consistency and communication.
- Successful brands have a simple, narrow focus. You can’t be something to everyone, but you can be everything to someone.
The realization of your authentic brand and knowing how to communicate this to the right audience through relevant and effective mind, heart and business-expanding marketing can be the difference between hit and miss of your sales targets.
A snapshot of the different types of media and marketing tactics can be described in the below image. Because the best brands become a source of identity, pride and commitment to action, how you implement your brand is as important as the brand itself.
In order to leverage owned, earned and paid media, planning is critical to define what message you’ll be communicating to your audience, who you’ll be talking to and when you’ll be communicating to them.
In the simplest terms, think of brand as the heart of your business – the purpose, beliefs and core values behind your commodities; visual identity (including logo) as its face; content and messaging its voice; and all marketing as its actions. When attempting to understand the critical importance of strategic brand and purposeful marketing, it serves well to remember that all aspects must be working in unison to provide a clear, consistent image of the organization and everything it stands for. You might just want to take that rum and eggnog out of your hand first…
The above is a general overview of what should be considered when planning for 2018. For a more detailed and custom approach to your brand and marketing strategy, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.