We’ve made it through another year, which means it’s the perfect time to press pause and review your marketing strategy and performance. Take stock of what worked in the past year – and what didn’t – and look forward with some fresh ideas that will help move the needle for your business in 2022.
We know marketing isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when considering your annual review. You may even feel like it’s one of those “set it and forget it” type things! But it’s important to regularly review, analyze, and adjust your marketing plans on a regular basis (we’d suggest at least twice a year) to ensure that you’re not wasting money on fruitless efforts or missing out on opportunities that could make a huge impact on your sales.
Here are just a few things you’ll want to take a closer look at when evaluating your marketing plan and performance.
The first and most important piece of your marketing strategy has to be a clear understanding of who you’re trying to connect with. You’ve likely had a pretty solid understanding of your target audience since you started your business but a lot has changed in the last few years. We’ve all survived a global pandemic together and many of us came out on the other side with our priorities rearranged. With that knowledge, it’s important to make sure that your marketing plans change, too. Your strategy should never be so rigid that it can’t follow where your audience needs to go. So, as you reevaluate your audience, ask yourself a few questions. You may be surprised by how the answers have changed over the last year! And if you don’t know the answers? Ask! It’s always better to directly ask the people you serve what they want and need than to assume and miss the mark. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Who is your service or product perfect for?
- What does your ideal client want more of in their life?
- What do they want less of?
- What has changed for them in the past year?
- How have those changes impacted the way they shop for products or hire contractors?
- Are you meeting them where they are or hoping they’ll come to you?
Recognizing where you stand within your industry and local marketplace is so important as you evaluate what works and what doesn’t in your marketing strategy. Your position is an evaluation of the competition and provides you with an opportunity to make choices that will help you shine. Now, keep in mind we’re not suggesting you should have your eyes glued on the competition at all times – it’s important not to get fixated on what everyone else is doing! But, as you evaluate your strategy’s performance, it is definitely worthwhile to do a competitive analysis and see if there are any openings where you can position yourself for better visibility with your ideal clients or perhaps provide a service or product for needs that aren’t being met. This analysis is more about your unique niche – what makes you special – than it is about comparing yourself to the competition. You should come away from this evaluation having a clearer understanding of what makes you stand out in the crowd, not how to blend in with the competition!
The next piece of the puzzle is your place – where do you show up in the marketplace and where do you connect with your people? You may think you know exactly where you and your business belong in the grand scheme of things, but when you take the time to analyze the past and look toward the future, you may see the landscape has significantly changed. Here are a few questions you’ll want to answer:
- What’s changed in the past year in my industry?
- Where do my ideal clients shop?
- Where can they find me?
- Which social media platforms are they using?
Finally, you’ll of course need to review the numbers. Here, your profit doesn’t refer to your company’s overall profit (though, of course, you’ll want to keep an eye on those numbers, too!) but instead requires you to review your marketing budget and assess the ROI. One common question business owners have is what percentage of their annual budget should be allocated to marketing. And, while it would be wonderful to have a simple answer to this question, the truth is that there isn’t just one answer. There is no magic number or one-size-fits-all solution because the truth is the amount you allocate to your marketing is based on one thing: YOU. Your business is unique and as such, your marketing strategy needs to be custom-tailored. You’ll want to consider the following when setting your marketing budget:
- What’s your overhead?
- Which marketing tools have been most effective for you?
- What is your overall goal?
- Are you doing all your marketing in-house or hiring a contractor or company?
Of course, these are just the basics to get you started. Re-evaluating and resetting your marketing strategy requires more thoughtful consideration of each of these categories which may seem like an overwhelming task in the midst of all your other responsibilities as a business owner. But not to worry! Proximo is home to a master strategist in CEO Courtney Riley and a team of professionals who are all eager and available to sit down with you, evaluate your current strategy and help you make adjustments that will bring your business to the next level.