I know lots of small business owners who spent money on a marketing plan and tactics this year that didn’t work out. One of the most common issues: they bought ads or sponsorships in the wrong media, targeting the wrong audience, with the wrong offer or message.
If you’re thinking about how to spend money more effectively in 2024, make these 3 steps part of your plan:
- 1️⃣ Diagnosis
- 2️⃣ Strategy
- 3️⃣ Tactics
Don’t skip ahead and commit your business to specific marketing tactics for next year without doing steps 1 and 2. This is the biggest point of failure we see across all industries and company sizes. Instead, start with a brand diagnosis and strategy to be sure you know where you’re standing and what direction you’re facing before you try to run your next race.🏃
First, review your 2023 business performance vs. goals. What worked and what didn’t? What market research have you done this year, and what did you learn? Do target customers know about you? Are they buying from you? If not, why not? What do they think about, when they think about you? Which were your most popular and profitable products and offers in 2023? Who were your most loyal customers, and what did they love about you? Dig in and understand where you’re ending the year.
Then, look forward to the next 12 months: who are the possible customer segments in your market? What are their needs and behaviors? Which groups have the most potential value / biggest unmet opportunity, which have the best product / offer / market fit and which have the most competition?
Once you know all that, work out part 2: Strategy. Decide which target customers to prioritize in 2024. What are their unique wants, needs & behaviors? What problems are they trying to solve? How & why are you better for them vs. competitive alternatives? How will you position your offers against those alternatives in your messaging? Make sure your positioning is relevant to your customers, authentic to you and what your company can credibly deliver and differentiated from your competitors. 🎯
Finally part 3: Select tactics that align with your strategy and allow you to reach your target audience with the right message. Where does your audience get their info? What do you know about their behavior that might make certain media choices more effective than others? Do they listen to podcasts or use certain social media platforms more than others? What channels will you use to reach them, and when? How will you stand out from the competition and get noticed, and what will you say? Once you have your target customers’ attention, what do you want them to think, feel, or do?
Don’t let anyone sell you on tactics that won’t reach your target audience, or reach people that aren’t a good match for your product or offer. And avoid those that don’t align with your strategy. For example, if an advertising opportunity requires you to promote price discounts when you’re not a “discount” brand, it’s probably not the right fit.
Make strategy the North Star in your Marketing Plan
Use every communication with target customers to reinforce the associations you want to build for your brand. Refer to your strategy whenever you run into new opportunities, and say “no” to the wrong things so you can say “yes” to the right ones. 🙌
Contact us for a free 2024 Planning Checklist today.