With the new year approaching, now is the time to create a marketing plan and start measuring your success.
It’s a simple question, yet one that can be so difficult to answer: “What do you hope to achieve?”
Anytime someone is considering advertising with Athletic Business, that question is one of the first things we ask. The response serves as the jumping off point for our conversation. It helps our team guide you to the right media mix for your brand. The scary thing is, oftentimes the customer doesn’t have an answer. Whether it’s brand recognition, more website traffic, becoming a thought leader in the industry, lead generation or all of the above, most customers haven’t considered their end goal.
Nearly everyone we work with knows that advertising helps their company. They know that reaching AB’s niche audience can help drive sales. But as for the specifics? Many haven’t gotten that far. And that’s what I wanted to address in this post.
Below are four recommendations to help you get started on a successful marketing plan for 2016:
1. Creating a Marketing Plan Helps You Maximize Your Investment
As Ben Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” That’s not to say a marketing plan automatically guarantees success. But having a plan will help you stay organized. It will make your workflow more efficient. It will allow you to target key dates, maximize special promotions and boost your exposure at trade shows. And best of all, it can help you maximize your investment and track the ROI. If you go into the year with a set plan and a set budget, you can find the right advertising resources to make the most of it.
2. Outline Goals and Create a Plan Around Those Goals
Is your company looking for more awareness in the market? Are you looking to grow market share? Boost sales of a particular product? Improve the perception of your brand? Become a thought leader in the industry? Different companies have different objectives. Any marketing plan should lay out your goals and a road map to achieve them. Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish will help you narrow down your advertising options and find the solutions that are right for you.
3. Integrated Marketing is the Best Approach
It’s important to remember that different prospects engage with different forms of media. Digital marketing receives a lot of buzz and at Athletic Business we’re working hard on some advanced technology to make your digital advertising more effective. Yet, there is a large segment of our audience that only reads the print magazine. In fact, 93% of professionals surveyed in a recent study by Martin Akel and Associates said that print publications are still a “desirable way” to access information. Additionally, a 2015 readership survey completed by Readex Research found that 82% of respondents choose trade publications and websites as their top way of staying informed on industry products and services.
If you’ve ever clicked around this site, you’ve probably come across the Venn Diagram shown here. It shows how different portions of our audience engage with us in different ways. Whether your advertising plans include AB or not, we recommend using an integrated approach — making your brand visible online, in print and in person at industry trade shows — to ensure you reach the entire market and not just those who choose to consume one form of media.
4. Determine How Success Will Be Measured
Perhaps the most important part of your marketing plan will be measuring its performance. How you judge performance will vary depending on your marketing goals and the product mix in your plan. Common measurables for our advertising partners include number of impressions their ads receive, traffic to their website, growth in social media following, or open rates and click-throughs on custom e-mails. We can help you test different types of messaging and determine what is most successful for your brand.
With a new year just around the corner, it’s important to start thinking about your plan for 2016. Our team is happy to speak with you about your specific objectives and help determine the best path forward. In the meantime, happy planning!
22 E. Mifflin St., Suite 910
Madison, WI 53703