Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Your 2019 Marketing Road Map" reviews marketing strategies and tactics that were successful in 2018, and the takeaways that can be applied to 2019 marketing efforts. There are so many divergent marketing strategies continuing to take place in 2018, that's it's difficult to keep up. Sure, we know that the creative online social media approach, albeit being led by video marketing, appears on the horizon as one of the best marketing destinations to invest in. We also are aware that email marketing, content marketing, repurposed content, SEM, and personalized direct mail collateral drives prospects to online destinations.
Regardless of the marketing and advertising medium choices, the overarching components of any given marketing campaign remain the consistent variable that drives success. And to that end, your 2019 marketing road map for success should be on the table for decisions by year's end. The following list will assist you in developing a seamless, annual strategic marketing plan.
Observe 2018 Successes & Failures
Before planning a new marketing strategy for 2019, it is critical to understand which 2018 marketing tactics worked, which showed promise and could have been tweaked, and of course the tactics that failed to move the ROI needle. It's also one thing to rely on 2018 tactical successes, and quite another to do the same thing and expect better results in a new year. We all have plenty of data to peruse and analyze from the first three quarters of 2018, and it should be easy enough to sort out the best and worst results.
Here are some questions your data should be able to answer:
Did your trade shows drive ROI?
How much traffic did your website content generate?
How did your social media paid advertising perform?
How did any marketing efforts in any area generate ROI?
If you used an email marketing campaign, what were the results?
Did you offer freebies, bonuses and discounts aimed at website sign ups, and if so what were those results?
Was, or is your website updated for mobile performance?
Did you use personas in your marketing efforts, and if so how did those personas perform?
Did you use an automated marketing lead generation system, and if so what were those results?
What was the churn rate achieved by your sales team?
Is your sales team armed with compelling presentation collateral that spoke to buyer personas in your industry?
Was any of your advertising and marketing content repurposed for other mediums, and if so what were those results?
These few questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reviewing the many types of marketing and advertising areas that brands and marketers can and should review. Depending on your organization's staff, resources, and overall strategic planning, adjustments can be made for the upcoming year to improve and incorporate marketing tactics that are a good fit, including investing in any other advertising mediums that may prove to be beneficial for your brand via a thorough analysis. It is also critical to understand that while a particular spending advertising initiative may not have produced the overall desired results, keep in mind that any content marketing collateral that was viewed by prospects and customers, does promote brand awareness, which when fine tuned will generate more ROI. Further it's also a good time to complete a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis to asses the overall marketplace and benchmark competitors.
Buyer Personas Matter
You're probably familiar with some of the more famous buyer personas that emerged in the early 2000s. You may recall terms such as Soccer Moms, DINKS (double income no kids), empty nesters, stay at home moms, etcetera. The value of creating buyer personas matter now more than ever in this age of personalization, as both B2C and B2B targets respond when the content speaks directly to them and to their concerns and/or challenges.
How a brand reaches out to these personas through marketing and advertising collateral that addresses their needs is critical. While most personas are B2C, the B2B personas mirror the fact that both targets are individual customers. However, the B2B persona makeup includes nailing down more precise information about the individuals, such as where they are employed, what their job responsibilities are, education level, industry experience, and being able to identify their pecking order within the organization.
That said, the most important aspect of the B2B buyer persona is recognizing if they are able to make purchasing decisions, or, if they are part of the purchase decision team, and if so, what weight and power do they bring to the purchasing team? Those are basic details that should be part of the B2B buyer persona creation and depending on the industry in which the brand competes, other identifiable characteristics may need to be assessed to fine tune that buyer persona.
Another very important aspect that applies to buyer personas is the state of the industry. In the event a brand's industry has undergone changes, this will have a direct affect on the competitive landscape, content marketing relevance, messaging, and conversely, may alter the requirements for the buyer personas. Therefore, prior to your team deciding on cementing a conclusive marketing strategy, it is best to take a look at previous buyer personas and update them accordingly.
Document Strategies and Objectives
Most business owners understand their primary goals and objectives…make more money! The typical goals associated with any business include generating more qualified leads, reduce churn, identify prospects that are prone for repeat business, and increase brand equity and awareness. That seems simple enough, right? However, under the strategic marketing objectives hood lies the engine that is directly reliant on the market conditions by which any brand must drive through.
You would never drive your vehicle through a blizzard without snow tires, right? Similarly, you also should be averse to pushing out content that is either outdated, ill conceived and/or placed in advertising mediums that are unfit for the brand. Hence those types of missteps could hinder achieving the designated goals.
Within marketing initiatives focused on achieving increased ROI, keep in mind there are several marketing aspects that can help a brand achieve that long term ROI goal. Conversely, it's great to achieve a short term goal for a few weeks or even over the course of a month, or quarter, but will that same effort translate into reaching the goals for the entire year? Keeping a brand top-of-mind, aka mindshare, is an often forgotten about aspect of disciplined, strategic marketing. A common mistake these days is the absence of organizations looking to create top-of-mind brand awareness as an ongoing strategy, due to the fact that marketers are tasked with producing immediate results.
In the B2B world, a common debate about immediate results are how long the sales cycle tends to be with respect to the actual purchase point. It's true that B2B sales cycles tend to require more in depth analysis which generally tends to extend the sales cycle. However, while a prospect is engaging with a brand during the sales cycle, outside marketing influences can play a role in speeding up that sales cycle.
Outside marketing influences include marketing content that is designed to impart what the brand is committed to and stands for, with content focused on targeting for example, the brand's position on the environment, or community involvement and helping people at large. While this type of marketing content generally avoids the direct sale aspects, it does aid in achieving brand awareness, which has been shown to influence buyers. Brand mindshare is achieved by an overall perception of the brand value statement, and keep in mind that brand equity is directly proportional to achieving brand mindshare.
That said, once the team has agreed to the objectives and goals for the year, documenting the overarching marketing strategy, which channels to market or purchase advertising on, and sticking to accountable deadlines throughout the year will keep the team focused. As the year progresses, objectives and goals can easily be reviewed, tweaked and pitted against the marketing strategy's performance.
Planning Which Marketing Channels to Use
Making decisions on which marketing channels to utilize should first take into consideration the channels your buyer personas frequent most. That said, marketing channel directives should be planned by marketing communication types by channel, including the types of activities inherent in each of the channels. These activity types should be documented by month and quarter. The ability to plot campaigns by channel uncovers insights that could be missed, such as patterns within a channel, or synergies between channels, such as Facebook and Instagram. Documenting channel activities also ensures that marketing creation is not being done by the seat-of-the-pants, or reactionary deadline driven responses, but moreover keeps the focus on sticking to the strategic marketing plan.
Sticking to the plan makes all the difference. Just ask the Golden State Warriors, who've won 3 out of the 4 last 4 NBA Championships. Kevin Durrant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Coach Steve Curr are all on the record, particularly when they are trailing in a critical game; consistently tell reporters, that no matter what, "we stick to the game plan." Sticking to the game plan wins! That said, the following list can be used as a channel starting point list to add to the game plan:
Social Media Channels
Content Offers (White Papers, Guides, etc)
At the end of the day, these planning tips should serve as a basic template to uncover strategic marketing roads to follow for the year ahead. The 2019 marketing road map will be much easier to navigate when the basic marketing content challenges have been addressed, including documentation that addresses all the initiatives, goals and timelines required to implement the marketing strategy.
Navigating the 2019 marketing challenges can appear to be an insurmountable task at the outset. However, the time spent in developing a marketing road map template will pay dividends in a variety of ways, from zeroing in on buyer personas, to channel selections, increasing brand awareness, and of course reduced churn and an increased ROI. Thanks for reading Your 2019 Marketing Road Map!
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