The holiday season is in full-swing. You have a laundry list of items to prepare for that involve holiday dinners, parties, the school toy drive, getting in enough hours at the gym to counterbalance all the holiday treats, and shopping for your friends and family. AND to top it all off, you are involved in creating the marketing plan and budget for your company for 2017. Don’t pull your hair out just yet – we are here to simplify the process and present to you this easy shopping list of things that businesses should be doing to prep for 2017.
1. Figuring out your Christmas budget = Figuring out your marketing budget
When it comes time to figuring out your Christmas shopping budget and how much you allow yourself to spend on each person, it is just like figuring out your marketing budget and itemizing by tactic. Your marketing budget depends on your company’s goals, how much time and money you can invest, and how quickly you want to see results. Prioritize your goals based on your highest ranked marketing objectives for growth and improvement in the coming year. Here are some ideas for priorities to include in your strategic marketing plan:
- Awareness: Thought leadership/brand recognition – Do you want people to see your brand and engage with you? This is about targeting more website visitors and social media followers
- Consideration: More leads – People are engaging with your content, but you need to increase the new leads coming through the door
- Decision: Better qualified leads for sales team – You have a lot of website visitors and they convert into new contacts, but your sales team needs better-qualified prospects who are ready to buy
2. Thinking of gifts that your friends and family would like = Analyzing your personas to see what content/marketing ideas they would most enjoy
Gift-giving isn’t about what you like, it’s about what THEY like. Re-analyze your audience and look at your best customers to identify the characteristics that make them profitable and enjoyable to work with. Update your personas to be as accurate as possible to reflect the kinds of customers who will help you reach your growth goals. Review trends and analytics from the content you’ve published on your website and social media in 2016 to see what your personas liked and didn’t like to better create a content marketing strategy for the new year.
3. Plan out which stores you want to hit for holiday shopping = What media platforms you should be on based on where your personas are
Start with what is tried and true and has worked for you in the past. Dig down into your personas’ online activity habits to see where they are spending their time. Now you can target your marketing strategy to deliver value on those platforms. If your target audience spends their time on Facebook participating in community pages and other public groups, you’ll want to show up and participate in those conversations. You wouldn’t just show up at a large store on Black Friday, latte in hand, not knowing what gifts to buy. Don’t have an online presence without being strategic. Show up and fine-tune your online presence and offer value by engaging with your personas through platforms they already love.
4. Picking out the dishes you know for a fact everyone at the holiday dinner will love = Using the tactics that work for your personas to better reach them
Why bother bringing the cranberry relish sauce or mashed cauliflower to dinner if you know that no one is going to touch it? The same goes for digital marketing tactics. Don’t keep putting time and effort into marketing strategies that have proven to not work for your personas. Instead, analyze your website, blog, and all social media platforms to see what is working for your target audience and come up with a better marketing strategy on how to best attract them. With a little research and a thoughtful plan, you will thank yourself later for the time and money saved on tactics that are not impacting your bottom line.
5. Stocking stuffer items that accessorize your life = The differentiators of your company that separate you from your competition
Stocking stuffers are the cherry on top of Christmas; the first or last little surprise that add a little something extra to your life. Well, you can be the stocking stuffers for your customers and clients year-round, and it’s about going the last 1% for them. Go the extra mile and take the time to really give delight to your audience and deliver a WOW experience which will set you apart from competitors.
HubSpot aptly calls this the “Delight” stage of the inbound marketing funnel. Just because someone made it all the way through the buyer’s journey and became a customer does not mean the work is done yet. “Delighting” them is about continuing to engage with and deliver value to the customer after the purchase is made. This can be done through tactics such as surveys to seek feedback about your company and products/services, and listening to your customers on social media and customer review sites to show genuine interest in their pain points and opinions. The goal behind marketing tactics like these is to show your customers that you sincerely care about them, and hopefully they will want to share their stories in their own networks.
Now that you’ve made it through your shopping list and have carefully picked the perfect gift for Grandma or the dish that will leave everyone getting up for seconds, enjoy yourself! Enjoy the company of your loved ones, and anticipate the positive results you will see from your marketing efforts in 2017. If you have any questions or would like more information on how to create a marketing budget for the new year, please contact us!
Image by Janis Stoneberg via Flickr CC