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Marketing plan

When was the last time you revisited your marketing plan? If it has been more than two years, it's probably time to look at it again.

Because the world has changed.

Take a critical look at everything you do to promote your products or services to your customers or clients. Evaluate what's working and what's not working and whether you're meeting your goals.

Revisit Goals, Mission/Vision

Revisit your goals as well. Are they the same as they were 2-3 years ago? Do they still support your organization's mission and vision?

And goals don't just have to be sales-related. They could be things like establishing your organization as a thought-leader or increasing brand engagement.

Maybe your mission and vision has changed or evolved, too. If that's the case, you'll need to revisit your mission and vision statements, too.

What Works?

The great mystery of marketing, though, is that you don't always know what works. Now days, you can measure engagement by the number of people who visit your website, open your emails, and like or share your social media posts.

Translating that data to leads or business can also be difficult -- unless you have landing pages on your website where you capture contact information by offering some sort of incentive. And while some organizations capture leads through social media, the main value of it is to build brand awareness.

Remember -- your brand is not your logo; its how people feel about you. The only way to find that out is to ask them.

And if you haven't done that in awhile (or ever), it may be time to do that, too.

How to Start

So much to do, where do you start? First, gather information and metrics about your marketing efforts.

Then, plan a half- or full-day review/strategy meeting with your marketing team (including consultants) and key sales or business development people. Smaller organizations may also want to include executive leadership.

Involve An Outsider

Engage an outside consultant to facilitate the meeting. Internal people can also facilitate the meeting, but having an outside perspective is always better.

Suggested meeting agenda:

  1. Review your mission and vision, business goals, etc. If necessary, revise or make recommendations for revisions.
  2. Look at your existing marketing efforts and metrics. Discuss what's working and what's not working. A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis might be part of this.
  3. Brainstorm ideas that fit within your budget. Focus on ones that will help you reach your goals.
  4. Discuss your messaging strategy. What do the people you want to reach want. What matters to them?
  5. Decide on next steps and assign tasks. Next steps may include gathering more information, revising your marketing plan, determining what resources you'll need to execute your marketing plan, and getting buy-in from leadership.

You can fast track this process, but it's important to take the time to cover all the things on this agenda. If you can't do it in one meeting, break it up into two.

Keep the Zoom Zombies at Bay

Finally, doing this meeting in-person will produce better results than doing it virtually.  People are more creative when they are together and often turn into "Zoom Zombies" when faced with looking at a screen even for a few hours.

If you must do it virtually, then you'll need to break the meeting up into bite-sized pieces and put more thought/work into the meeting's design and structure to keep the Zoom Zombies at bay.

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Photo: 48588930 / Marketing Plan © Kenishirotie | Dreamstime.com

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Sara Marberry, EDAC, is a healthcare design knowledge expert, thought catalyst, and strategic marketing and business development consultant. The author/editor of three books, Sara writes and speaks frequently about industry trends and evidence-based design. She can be reached at sara@saramarberry.com.

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