So you want a strong start to 2017. Excellent! To see greater results this year, you need to focus on developing a strong Marketing Plan. First, you need to work on the five essential components of the plan. Then, to beef it up, you should consider developing campaigns and programs aligned with your objectives, target market, and budget. Below are some tips to upgrade your Marketing Plan by identifying key enablers and strategic initiatives that can better prepare your company for business growth:
1. Review and Update Your Ideal Customer Profile - Look back at your best clients and identify the characteristics that make them profitable. It is highly recommendable to gather your sales and marketing team together for a series of planning sessions to get everyone aligned on who your ideal customer is. As a team, review their purchase cycle, including frequency and monetary value. Make sure your Ideal Customer Profiles are accurate and update them accordingly to reflect the kinds of customers you need to identify to reach your growth goals.
2. Document Your Customer Journey - Once the Ideal Customer Profile is updated, document their journey from prospect to customer. Your prospects take many small steps along the way to becoming a buyer, and it is important to understand their mission in order to eliminate any barriers in the process. Plot out every interaction to evaluate the efficiency of the process and the effectiveness of the related messages. The journey should not end with the purchase, but with a proper on-boarding program that ends in new customer referrals.
The exercise of understanding the customer journey can open a lot of opportunities for your business to be more efficient and effective, resulting in more satisfied and profitable customers. This can be the foundation of a fresh start for your business!
3. Confirm Your Value Proposition - Make sure you are clear on what makes your company different from your competitors. It is important to talk to some of your clients and find out why they chose your business and what could cause them to switch to buy from your competitors instead. The exercise of talking to your customers should complement your Marketing Plan with relevant key messages for each target market. The key messages should be based on how current customers perceive your brand, and the effective communication of your value proposition should persuade more prospects into customers.
4. Review Your Sales Process – If your goal is business growth, it is important to evaluate your sales process and determine if it is aligned to the aggressiveness of your Marketing Plan.
- Is your sales process designed to close the quality and quantity of customers you need to reach your business goals?
- Do all of your sales reps follow the same process for managing prospects?
- Is your CRM system set up to support your process efficiently and effectively?
- Could you be using any other automated tools to make your sales process more efficient?
- Is your sales process documented and shared as best practices?
After reviewing the process, make sure that your marketing materials are designed to attract your Ideal Customer Profile and communicate your value proposition. Verify that it complies with any new regulations, that your branding guidelines are being followed, and that your sales reps are using the latest version. Remember that the effectiveness of the materials depends on how your sales force uses them. This tactic is another great opportunity to align sales and marketing on the Strategic Plan.
5. Review Your Website and Online Marketing - Take a look at your website and your presence on social media to make sure it is designed to attract your Ideal Customer Profile. Are your branding and messaging strategies consistent? Are you engaging with the right audience? Is your content compelling and educational? An effective Digital Marketing Program should maximize the benefits of data assets, technology-focused initiatives and various forms of digital media. At its core is the customer conversion rate optimization. We propose to include in all plans for 2017, a potent mix of growth hacking, inbound marketing, and content strategy techniques to grow through the purchase funnel.
All these tips can help you upgrade your Marketing Plan and prioritize the issues you've identified to develop a phased approach to tackling them over the next four quarters. Depending on the issues or opportunities you've identified, you may need to develop tactical plans for each component. Perhaps there’s a lot of work to do, but it's better to start the year knowing your possibilities and aligning your resources to achieve optimal business growth. If you need help, one of our advisors can guide you through the marketing planning process.
DuartePino is a management advisory firm that combines in-depth customer knowledge with practical expertise in marketing to help clients create sustainable business growth. We can provide your organization with a fresh perspective, a proven process that invests in the outcome, and the tools for successful execution. From Fractional CMOs to business advisors, contact us to learn how our team can help with growth strategies for your organization.