The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – 2013 Marketing Planning, Part 2

Part 2 – 2013 plan and goal development

Now that retailers are starting their final holiday sales blitzes, you should be thinking about finalizing your 2013 marketing plans. The intent of this 2013 marketing planning exercise is not only to document specific marketing activities, but also to set some goals for what you would like to accomplish and achieve next year. As the saying goes, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

In Part 1 of this series I discussed how to review and critique your 2012 results, identifying the activities that missed, met and exceeded expectations. The “goal” here was simply to document whatever quantifiable marketing data and results you have, like email addresses, clicks, visitors, phone calls, clients and revenue.

Now that you have assembled this information, let’s look for some opportunities to improve, try new things, and dump the failures – like your partner bobblehead mailing. The good news is that you probably thought of a number of ideas just by documenting your results. Those tend to be best, especially internal process enhancements that don’t involve paying some vendor more money.

Improve your marketing results in 2013

As you critique your 2012 results, here are few tactical and low-cost ways to improve upon those results in 2013 for specific marketing areas. This is not an exhaustive list, but it may help you think about even better ideas for your firm:

I want to reach a broader audience. Sign up for Google, Yahoo! and other (free) local listings. Add every prospective client to your email list. Have lunch with one potential referral source each week. Submit an article to a local newspaper, or an idea for a morning talk show interview.

I want to attract more interest in my firm / visitors to my website. Do something proactive! Start a newsletter. Send updates through your LinkedIn network. Ask clients to post their feedback on Google Reviews and other review sites. Offer a free educational seminar, webinar, or white paper.

I want to get more of those visitors to contact my firm. Write your website (and other collateral) to educate, not define or advertise. Highlight your true differentiators. Offer quick tips, tools and success stories. Add chat functionality. Drop the keyword lists and other antiquated search engine tricks that confuse readers.

I want more of those contacts to result in consultations or initial prospect meetings. Always answer the phone live. Set specific call-back times. Respond to email/chat inquiries within 15 minutes. Ask for the meeting. Focus on the date and time, rather than the meeting itself. Follow-up three times by phone and email.

I want to turn more prospective clients into clients. Send a thank-you note. Quickly respond to assigned action items. Ask for more information to re-engage the prospect. Send an article relevant to the prospect’s business or problem. Hold internal lunch-and-learn meetings to share ideas and success stories.

Set some 2013 marketing goals

Now let’s develop a few 2013 marketing goals, along with the tactics to achieve those goals as well as the desired result. If you haven’t gone through this exercise before, just setting one marketing goal is a great achievement. Don’t sweat the “desired result” part. Use your gut feeling and move on. If you are familiar with this planning exercise, try to come up with five goals. Here are a couple of overly simplified examples to help you get started:

Goal – Attract more visitors to my website.

  • Two associates write a short advice or tips article each month.
  • Post those articles to my website.
  • Send out summaries in a monthly email newsletter, with links back to my website.
  • Desired result – improve my website traffic by 10%.

Goal – Convert more initial prospect phone calls into consultations.

  • Have someone answer the phone during business hours.
  • Schedule specific callback times. Call it a mini-consult.
  • Respond to all messages within 1 hour, even if simply to acknowledge the contact.
  • Desired result – 10 incremental monthly consults.

Congratulations! Now that you’ve documented 2012 marketing results, identified some specific 2013 marketing enhancements and set some quantifiable goals, you created a solid foundation for managing your 2013 marketing program and tracking key metrics. Revisit your plan each month in 2013 to see how you’re doing on the tactical execution as well as the results. These are your goals, so feel free to adjust as needed, building on the most successful activities.

If you can’t measure it, don’t do it. SM