Founder, CEO, Director or Manager; whatever the title, the pressure is the same.
The success of your business relies on you finding customers and convincing them to spend their hard earned dollars with you.
And every day, the marketing world is so full of noise with people trying to sell you any number of marketing tools or services.
Where do you start? What do you focus on?
In this post, I'm going to help you understand what your key marketing priorities should be for 2017.
The Daily Threats to Your Business
Every day, you have the threat of competition, technological change, demographic change and the threat of industry disruption around every corner.
New industries are being born overnight; old ones are dying in the blink of an eye.
You're losing your customer's attention. Why?
Because they have so many new platforms, communities and devices which have their attention.
It's becoming more and more difficult to know where to be and what to do to earn their time and consideration.
What's Changed in Marketing?
While marketing fundamentals haven't changed, and the need to have a solid marketing strategy remains, what has changed dramatically are the marketing channels.
You now have access to digital marketing channels that are powerful, measurable ways to reach customers.
And this is where the stress begins because many of you have no idea how to effectively leverage these marketing channels for your business.
You outsource digital marketing to agencies who you hope know what the hell they are doing but sometimes things just don't work that way.
So, without further delay, to succeed in 2017 here is what you need to do.
1) Revisit Your overall marketing strategy
Sometimes we get distracted by the daily activity of our business, and we don't notice the changes that are happening.
New competitors, new technologies, new channels. All of these can impact the viability of your business.
Instead of rushing into 2017, doing the same as you did last year, take the time to revisit your marketing strategy.
- Are your customers wants and needs the same as when you started or have they evolved?
- Who else in your market is doing a great job of serving your clients & customers?
- Are your current marketing channels still relevant and effective?
- Are they reaching your customers where they are?
Check out this post from Bob Bly called Why and When to Review Your Marketing Plan
2) Review the effectiveness of your promotional mix
The promotional mix consists of your direct marketing efforts, your advertising, personal selling, promotions and publicity. It's the subset of the marketing mix that focuses on communication.
Ask yourself which of these has generated positive outcomes for your business? Are you even able to calculate the return on investment?
What promotional strategies are your global and local competitors using that seem to be gaining traction?
People often confuse the promotional mix with digital channels, not realising that each of these promotional strategies is evolving and leveraging digital tools to make them more efficient and measurable.
For more information check out How to Achieve and Effective Promotional Mix.
3) Review the effectiveness of your digital marketing channels
You're probably using digital channels right now.
It's critical that you understand how well they are performing for your business.
SEO, Google Adwords, Display advertising and social media.
Each of these channels is completely measurable.
At a minimum make sure you have proper analytics and measurement systems in place and actively review them to see if they are worth your investment.
If you are looking for the best framework to use to help you measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing you can't go past the Digital Marketing & Measurement Model by Avinash Kaushik.
4) Review the performance of your marketing providers.
Many of you completely outsource your digital marketing to agencies. Whether SEO, PPC, content or social media agencies.
Some big national brands don't care about ROI, they just care that they are spending their budget on branding.
But I'm betting you care that you are making a profit on your agency fees.
If that's the case it's critical you understand what it is your agencies are doing and if they are being effective at all.
Yes, it can be hard to understand advanced paid traffic strategies, but at the end of the day, it's results that matter right?
It's not hard to work out whether you made a profit on your digital media investment.
Take the time to work out what a good and effective digital marketer can do for your business.
If you have the time, check out this Webinar from Marketing Mojo called How to Audit Your Digital Marketing Agency. It covers both SEO and PPC services and is quite a good review.
5) Review the mix of Internal versus External Resourcing
In 2017 it's going to be critical to develop the digital marketing (and general marketing) skills of your in-house team.
Massive change is everywhere, especially for digital agencies.
Many of the activities that you used to pay an SEO agency for such as link-building can easily now be done in-house more effectively.
Good agencies realise this and should be moving into more strategic and training roles, advising you on strategy and developing your teams.
Don't get me wrong, you still need the expertise of experts, especially when it comes to complex technical or marketing problems.
But many activities can and should be done in-house.
Your role is to determine what to outsource and what to do in-house.
Two great reads on this topic are In-house Vs. Outsourced Digital Marketing – The Ultimate Comparison and Online Marketing: When To Outsource, When To Do It In-House
Have I missed anything? What do you think are other marketing priorities we should be across.