By now, most businesses are well into planning season. You’re taking time out of your already busy day to forecast for next year, carve out budgets for what you think you will need, and evaluate your effectiveness for this year.
But it’s important to remember: Doing what you did won’t always get you what you got.
If you’ve had a stellar year, repetition can be an easy go-to, but it’s not your best bet. When your revenue is up it’s easy to do a rerun because well, it worked. But could it have worked better? Do you know what parts of your plan were highly efficient, and what parts of your plan performed poorly but were hidden by the results of your other solid efforts?
When preparing your 2016 marketing plan, ask yourself some of these questions to find out which parts of your previous year’s plan should be replayed and which parts may need a revamp.
What is my cost per acquisition?
Sometimes this is a hard number to get to and therefore you may be tempted to ignore it and focus on simpler metrics. However, knowing your true CPA can help you really compare the effectiveness of your various tactics against one another.
Did I learn enough this past year?
Every year, you should select key items you want to use for learning purposes. A few examples are testing various messages, speaking to new audience segments, or doing more research around your customer. Did you try a new marketing avenue this year compared to last? If not, you should. With digital, you can receive a lot of data for your efforts, which provides a ton of great opportunities for education.
Do I know all of my media options?
Media planning now affords you more options than ever, and decision making is that much harder when there are endless media partners to choose from. If you have been sticking to the same avenues each year, think about which new ones could be more effective for you. For example, if you’re a big fan of radio, try looking into online radio or a digital music service to reach a fresh, new audience.
Is my creative the most effective it can be?
A solid marketing and media strategy is only as good as what you choose to put in front of your potential customers through those channels. If you haven’t taken a hard look at your creative in the past year or two, it may be time to build extra creative costs into your budget in order to take the findings from the past year and make your messages more targeted. Then, update those videos/commercials and create multiple spots that you can test.
Can my potential customers find me online?
While you’re focusing on your media and ‘outbound’ strategy, be sure you’re also putting enough thought and effort into your inbound strategy. When someone is looking for a product or service online and you have that available, you have to be there. Not only do you have to be there, but you’ve got to be there with positive reviews and your organic and map listings dominating that space above your competitors. Figure out your priority keywords and searches, and then ensure that owning them is in your plan for 2016.
How am I doing at keeping the convo going?
With all of the emphasis on new business acquisition, you’ve got to make sure you’re also talking to your recent and past customers. How do they feel about your product and service? Have you asked them? You know their buying patterns and preferences, but how else can you help them? Can you recommend a complementary item or perhaps offer them information on how to care for their new item? Make sure to have tools in place to easily stay in touch with your past clients in a way that isn’t only promotional.
Using these questions to evaluate your 2016 plan can shed light on if you’re good to go, or if you need a little more help. If you fall in the latter, I know just the person to help.