What is it? What are best practices? How to ensure 2023 brand initiatives.
Did you do your book report? No, not yet. Why not? Because you are overwhelmed. Got it. Did you look at the calendar and schedule time between hockey practice and hanging out with friends to work on it? You did. Oh, you forgot to include dinner, a shower and a phone call to Grandma? Yep, there’s the conflict.
The book report owner had a plan, but it lacked strategy, marketing, and project management to ensure the outcome.
Schedules should include all activities, not just the ones assigned to the task itself
- A plan needs a stated goal (reach for a numerical value, since numbers rule everything): 100 percent grade on the book report
- Meeting the objective of “book report proofed and turned in” mixed with marketing might have included:
- “Grandma, I have a book report I need to do tonight, can I read it back to you so we can spend time together AND I can proofread it?” Market research and audience analysis would show that Grandma was a teacher for 30 years and understood the intended audience of both a room full of 7th graders and the teacher grading the book report. That’s some valuable Audience Insight!
- “Mom, I want to eat dinner. But you are delayed as a supplier. I’m going to mitigate risk by taking a shower NOW, so I can work on my book report later.” That’s some sensible Project Management!
- Previous analysis of past book reports’ grades and “best practices” would have created a strategy for how to overcome the barriers of Grandma and mom’s delayed start for dinner.
Removing the complex myths around how to create a strategic marketing plan is essential, even if your strategic marketing plan is complicated. This fourth and final installment is dedicated by Jayne Agency and MBE magazine to demonstrate what a strategic marketing plan is, the best practices that should be employed around it, and how to ensure 2023 brand initiatives.
What is a Strategic Marketing Plan?
A strategic marketing plan aligns all marketing activities in a fiscal year against a business goal, which means it’s in service of helping you meet your revenue targets. It is based on six parts: Goals, Objectives, Audience, Competition (or a SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), Strategies (Content/Content Recommendations), Measurement, and Marketing Calendar. It often includes leveraging last year’s activities (planned or spontaneous), measuring outcomes and then guiding strategies to ensure the coming year’s goals.
- Goals: Numbers rule everything. What are you trying to achieve? What’s financial and what’s not? Where do you stand if you invest no other time and energy vs. the impact of following the plan?
- Objectives: How we measure our achievements (and track progress) against our stated goal. Objectives often sound like “build awareness,” “protect market share” or “increase sales by x.” Objectives, like goals, need to be measurable, but they also need to be SMART—Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Trackable. Well-defined objectives guide activities (large and small, low cost to big impact) that ensure our goals get met.
- Audience: You only have 1 dollar to spend on one person. Who are you going to spend it on? How do you recognize your audience? Look at your P&L. What is consistent across your most favorite clients? Find where revenue meets joy when it comes to how you deliver for your clients.
- Competition: Who is in your category? Who do you typically find bidding on the same projects? Pick four. Do a SWOT analysis of each.
- Strategies: The initiatives you intend to invest in—financials, people, energy, and resources. Strategies should be committed so that you ensure you meet your objectives based on your audience. Each strategy is designed to help you overcome your competition. Strategies are where the content and context recommendations sit—the media, creative, marketing, and advertising initiatives.
- Measurement: What can you look at to create a baseline from last year? Did you go to conferences or networking events? Invest in an email blast? Drive social? How much did it cost? What came out of it as a result that impacted business development or “top of funnel” lead generation? How are you going to set this year up so you can measure progress?
- Marketing Calendar: It is best to create a spreadsheet or use a planning tool that allows you to see a month-over-month set of needs, what needs to get kicked off, when and by whom, how long it is in motion, and how it gets closed down and measured. YES, measurement should be on the calendar! We checked in with industry expert, master planner Bliss Coulter, President and CEO, WBCS Southwest and asked her how she handled so many moving parts in such a high-performance atmosphere:
Expert Tip: “Don’t have your calendar so full, you can’t insert things that come up—you want to be able to add things in its immediacy that you’ll want to make room for. That’s not just social media, or brand… that’s for us as women (and men!) too. So make sure to think about the personal things you are trying to achieve as well.”
“Measurement helps you analyze not just marketing efforts, [but I like to ask] how you are using your operational dollars to support staff, equipment, marketing, technology. For example, when you leave a conference, what are you doing two weeks from now to leverage the opportunities?” — Bliss Coulter, WBC-Southwest, president and CEO on Measurement.
Now, there are plans—like the one our “winging it” book reporter started out with — and there are good plans. A good plan can be no cost, low cost or dedicated cost, as long as it follows best practices.
RELEVANT: Drawn from market research. It costs nothing to send an email to friends, family or business relationships relevant to your company’s products and services with a set of questions (3 to 5) to learn what is of importance and interest to your intended audience.
- Questions to ask those you believe are your audience:
- What does your business world look like as it relates to Product X or Service Y? This will lead you to the Observational Truth.
- What are three things you do every day related to this topic? This will clarify the Behavioral Truth.
- Given all those who provide Service X or Product Y, what is something they are still not offering and why do you think that is? This will reveal the Unmet Need.
- What do you believe my brand (product or service) offers to solve that need?
FOCUSED: Zero in on the right product mix in order to achieve the maximum profit potential and sustain the business. We worked this year with an NMSDC EYE participant who wanted to redefine her retail product mix. She attached a survey to the checkout process. A low cost plan!
COMPREHENSIVE: Combine all marketing goals, objectives and strategies into one plan. Looking to better understand how to achieve that? You can check out the first, second and third installments of Beyond the Logo for a powerhouse DIY insider’s view on how to create goals, objectives and strategies.
INTENTIONAL: Contribute measurably to the results of the company’s goals and objectives.
- Short- and long-term activities (A TO-DO LIST)
- Analysis of the strategic situation of a company (REALITY CHECK)
- Formulate, evaluate, and select marketing strategies (PRIORITIES)
How to Ensure 2023 Brand Initiatives
Marketing initiatives often include brand initiatives by the nature of how objectives and strategies work. But if you step back and technically look at each initiative, some are meeting the specific objective of “building brand awareness” or “establishing brand presence.” Your marketing strategy for 2023 should include efforts specific to increasing your brand awareness because that specific objective will increase the attraction into your top of funnel lead generation, which will be essential to meeting your 2023 goals.
Here is a checklist heading into 2023 to help ensure outcomes.
- Do a customer satisfaction survey: Once you’ve confirmed your audience for the brand, send a survey to all your existing customers. Sneak in the questions included in this article on top of standard customer satisfaction questions.
- Commit to at least three initiatives that help give your brand exposure: Sign up for a local or regional sponsorship at an event, do a product sampling (live, digital, trial based, beta testing), host an event, send out an email blast 1x a month highlighting products or services.
- Invest in a specific area of your brand: Learn about your competitors through the SWOT analysis. Pick one area of your brand (business) you want to make the most valuable of your offerings. Create a timeline for its release. In doing so, you will create news about your company that is worth shouting from the mountain tops.
Jayne and MBE magazine will use survey data to bring richer insights specific to the MBE universe. We invite you to take the survey now. Survey closes on Nov 30th.
Use the QR Code below or go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Clarity2022.
Join the Beyond the Logo 2022 Winter Webinar and enjoy an in-depth panel discussion featuring Bliss Coulter from WBC-Southwest, Cheryl Borland from Greising Law (last webinar’s Brand Awareness winner), Tanya Isley, from MBE magazine, and Brooke Foley from Jayne, who will explore the eye-opening combination of measurement and impact. Brooke will also share how the different approaches to measurement and collecting data yield unique and story-inspiring insights. Stay until the end and enter for a chance to win a half-page ad placement in MBE magazine’s next digital issue and a featured spot in our first webinar of 2023!