Whether you’ve been wildly successful with a previous marketing strategy, or you’ve just been making stuff up as you go and getting lucky, there comes a time for almost every business where marketing initiatives just seem to… stagnate.
Feeling like you’re stuck in a rut? Read on to find out why your marketing plan is stale, and what to do about it.
#1 – You Never Had a Plan in the First Place
Don’t worry – it’s actually not as uncommon as you might think! Especially for small businesses whose customers are largely referred by word-of-mouth, there simply is no need to actively market initially.
But as the business grows, and with it your projected sales and revenue, you may find the tipping point where word-of-mouth referrals are no longer enough to maintain – much less grow – the business.
What to Do: You need a marketing plan to reach new customers in your target market.
This can be a challenge for small businesses that have gotten along just fine without marketing for so long. Regardless of how established the business is, however, it’s important to start from the ground up with a strategic and comprehensive marketing plan that includes:
- Business Analysis
- Competitor Analysis
- Proposed Initiatives
- Implementation Strategy
- Plan for Measuring and Tracking Results
- A Monthly Budget
#2 – Your Plan Wasn’t Backed with Relevant Research
Just because something works for your competitor doesn’t mean you will be equally successful employing the same tactic. A good marketing plan is backed with relevant research that supports the suggested strategies and their respective goals.
What to Do: Do your homework.
While competitor research should absolutely be a part of developing your marketing plan, getting a clear picture of your target market is more important.
We’re not talking pure demographics, though. There are so many channels to reach your customers these days, and preferences will vary between demographics, industries, and even between personas within the same organization for B2Bs. While it’s pretty safe to assume you should use social media and email marketing to sell smartphone accessories to Millennials; and print and television ads to sell home safety products to seniors, it’s rarely so cut and dry.
Usually, a smart mix of mediums and messaging is suggested in the beginning. As your plan progresses, and if you have been effectively measuring the results of each initiative, you will begin to see patterns emerge, and your marketing will become more focused and ultimately, more successful.
#3 – Your Plan is Stale
If you’re saying to yourself, “But I DO have a strategic marketing plan! I DID my research!” and wondering how your once-stellar plan is no longer bringing in the business it once did, you’re not alone. Your marketing plan may be stale because it’s just that — old!
What to Do: If your marketing plan is out of date, it might simply be time for a makeover.
While you should constantly be measuring results and fine-tuning your strategies, sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day that you forget to step back and look at the big picture. A strategy that was once your silver bullet now produces lackluster results, and maybe that tactic had been suffering a slow death for some time before the impact became apparent.
It’s incredibly common.
The key is to stay in tune with your plan, objectively evaluate strategies and results, and be agile enough to make adjustments before things come to a grinding halt.
It’s a good idea to review your marketing plan every 12-18 months at minimum, and make adjustments based on an analysis of factors such as:
- Channels – Have new ones emerged, or has customer preference changed?
- Messaging – Do offers and actionable language that used to get attention now fall flat?
- Customers – Has the definition of your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) changed?
- Market – Has the demand for your solution fallen? (Hint: if so, it might be time review your ICP and expand into new markets!)
If your marketing plan is getting stale, it’s no one’s fault, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all magical solution. Recognizing the need for change is the most important step; from there, you can take a strategic approach to create a new plan or breathe life into an old one to get the marketing train back on track.
Get a Fresh Perspective From EmoryDay
Whether you’ve got a stale plan or no plan, sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need to give your marketing efforts a boost.
EmoryDay specializes in helping small and medium businesses develop, implement, execute and measure marketing plans that really work. Our Strategic Marketing Plan is built on proven methodology and tried and true strategies that we’ve put to work to help thousands of customers just like you.