It’s time to make 2019 the year you grow your business through your marketing strategy. In order to be successful in marketing, you’ll need a solid strategy in place. That’s why we’re here to help you through the fundamentals of good marketing planning to get a head start for the year ahead.
Do you have your 2019 marketing strategy yet? Research shows that fewer than 50% of organizations have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy. The real problem is that many companies don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to effective marketing strategies.
If this sounds like your company, keep reading to learn how to create a successful marketing strategy in 2019.
Review the Previous Year
The first step to creating an effective and successful marketing strategy is to take a look at your previous year’s strategies. In this stage, you need to reflect on what went well… and what didn’t go so well. You need to have a clear understanding of where you are, before you can figure out where you want to go.
Start by asking yourself a few questions…
- What were my goals this last year?
- Did I achieve last year’s goals?
- What went well in my marketing strategy?
- What did not go so well during the year?
- Which strategies should I consider continuing in 2019?
- Which ones should I plan on leaving in 2018?
We know that it can be tempting to just jump right into planning for the next year’s strategies, but you should really take advantage of your time during this reflection period. The key takeaways that you get from it will truly set you and your business up for success.
So, How Can I Improve?
In order to figure out how best to improve, we recommend conducting a thorough SWOT analysis of your business. This will outline your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, while also helping you to understand the opportunities available to you and potential threats you might face.
- Strengths – What is going or has gone well in my business? What gives us a competitive edge in our industry? What resources do we excel at? Did we have a positive ROI? Think about what makes your business unique while making your list of strengths.
- Weaknesses – What has not been going well in my business? What are some disadvantages compared to our competitors? What resources do we lack or see weaknesses in? Did we have a negative ROI? Consider these questions as you go through your internal weaknesses.
- Opportunities – What is happening outside of our organization that we can capitalize on? Opportunities are external aspects that epitomize the reasons why your business exists and prospers in the marketplace.
- Threats – What is happening outside of our organization that could potentially have a harmful impact on our business? These are external factors that are out of your control but have the potential to put your marketing strategy or business at risk.
While going through this opportunities audit, it can help you to uncover new prospects to take advantage of. Defining your threats will help you to eliminate potential pitfalls that otherwise you might be unaware of.
Once you finish your SWOT analysis, you’ll be able to make recommendations for improvement and develop a strategic marketing plan based on what you’ve learned. Something to also keep in mind is that SWOT analysis can be influenced by those who perform it. Because of this, you might want to have an outside business consultant review the results for an impartial perspective to help you deliver an objective plan.
What Will 2019 Look Like?
After you’ve reviewed your previous year and looked for opportunities to improve, now it’s time to start planning for 2019. Let’s get started!
Define Your Challenge(s)
The first step towards an effective marketing strategy for 2019 starts with clearly defining your challenge and asking yourself a few questions. What problem (or problems) do you want to solve? What challenges must you overcome? Reflect on your SWOT analysis to consider strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Identify your key issues up front so that you’re able to move along with your plan.
Outline Your Target Audience
Who is your target audience? Who are you speaking to? Take a moment to sit down and figure out exactly who your target audience is, as it can often change over the years and sometimes needs to be redefined. The better you understand your target audience, the easier it is to target your marketing efforts towards them.
Creating buyer personas can be helpful in defining specific descriptions for each audience. Your buyer persona should include attributes like age, location, socio-economic status, income and job position, in addition to specific needs and challenges. Considering all these things and taking the time to write this information down will help you figure out your core messaging and drive your marketing efforts.
Assess Your Resources
Now is a good time to assess your internal resources, which includes people, technology and your marketing budget. Figure out if you have enough people with the right skills, or if you’ll need to look to outside resources for parts of your marketing plan. Many businesses often look to full-service marketing agencies to help with specifics while you focus on other initiatives. In terms of technology, are your tools up-to-date and in line with your marketing strategy? Evaluate what technology you will need in order to be successful, and any associated costs with those tools. Finally, check in with your budget to determine if your marketing plan is driving the budget or if you’ll need to work within the limits of a prearranged budget.
Set Your Main Objectives
Now, get ready to set your objectives. Your marketing objectives can vary significantly depending on the industry you’re in, your audience, your competitors and the size of your company, just to name a few. Here are a few examples of potential objectives for your business:
- Generating leads
- Driving traffic to your website
- Increasing sales
- Targeting new customers
- Improving stakeholder relations
- Building brand awareness
- Enhancing customer relationships
- Building a social media community
- Growing marketing share
- Launching new products or services
Outline Your Tactics
Let’s get down to business – it’s time to outline your tactics. Tactics are the specific tasks that you need to complete in order to achieve your marketing objectives. This is where you’ll want to work out all the little details of your marketing strategy and break down all the details of your action plan.
Identify Effective Content
Ask yourself: what kind of content is my audience looking for? What would they like to see more of and learn more about? This all depends on your buyer persona and what types of content your audience prefers to consume. Based on your answers, you should be able to create a content marketing strategy to generate, publish and share content on all the platforms you plan on working with. These platforms will likely be comprised of your website, company blog and all social media channels in your marketing strategy.
These are some of the most effective types of content to include in your marketing strategy in 2019:
- Write a blog
- Start a podcast
- Use action verbs
- Create a webinar
- Build your social media presence
- Make a video
- Offer a free download
- Post case studies
- Create relevant infographics
- Use keyword research
Now that you have your objectives, tactics and content strategies set, it’s important to lock down your timeline of deadlines to complete them by. Establishing these timelines is not only beneficial to motivating yourself, but also your team members. By setting short- and long-term milestones, you’ll be able to stay on top of individual tasks, while keeping the big picture goals in mind. Get feedback from your team regarding realistic time frames and meet frequently to keep everyone updated on progress as you work on executing tasks.
Other Tips for Creating Your Marketing Strategy
- Assign specific team members to specific tasks to encourage accountability. This will help to keep everyone on your team accountable, and effectively complete tasks to help move you along to your ultimate marketing goals.
- Review your progress frequently. You’ll want to keep track of your marketing efforts and review how things are going throughout the year. Remember, this is a process and tracking your development will only make things easier.
- Adjust your strategy when necessary. Let’s face it — your marketing strategy might need to change throughout the year. While you’ll want to do enough reflection and research in the beginning to try to predict the best marketing strategies, things can often change that are out of your control. If this happens, you’ll want to review your marketing strategies and see how you can best adjust it to adapt and figure out what will work best for your business.
If you haven’t started yet, now is the time. 2019 is the year for you to successfully execute your marketing strategy. Get ready to start this year off strong and achieve your marketing and business goals.
What are you waiting for? Let’s start strategizing!