2013 is about to come to an end leaving many folks with mixed feelings; was it a good year or a bad one? More importantly, what will 2014 bring? Will it be another year full of surprises?
Regardless of what’s coming, a business has to adapt and make the best of the future. And yes, you guessed right; the starting point will be a thoroughly updated marketing plan. Not just a revamped communication plan on steroids, but a “real” plan with all the bells and whistles.
Here are some questions to ponder as you start thinking about how you can market your brand, products, or services better than you ever did before. And given the fact that we’re half a month away from 2014, now is the perfect time to get started.
Are the products or services you sell designed in the most optimal way? Times have changed, and so have customers’ needs. It doesn’t really matter how great your products are, if they don’t meet your consumers’ expectations, they won’t sell. A few focus group sessions with customers will come in handy and shed some light on how they can be redesigned and repackaged to become more appealing.
Are your prices competitive and compatible with prevailing market rates? If higher, do you have additional values or considerable brand equity that justifies that? By the same token, have market rates gone up while you’re still at the old levels? Also to keep in mind, customers aren’t necessarily on the lookout for the lowest price; they want the best value for their money. And they want an “easy entry” into your product or service. This is, for example, why software companies are so good at offering stripped-down products as “basic” packages, which are much lower priced (if not free) than the full versions. Once customers experience the value, they’ll be more willing to pay the full price.
Are you selling your products at the right place and through the best channels? Would it be more feasible to move to a mall for example, where foot traffic is heavier? Would expanding beyond Amman help increase sales? Is it time to add new sales channels by incorporating agents? How about selling products/services online for increased accessibility and convenience? There’s a very compelling reason why so many companies choose to sell only online.
This is where you really must understand your target audience in depth. You have a bunch of key messages that you need to communicate across. How can you reach your customers most effectively and in a cost efficient manner? Do you really need conventional media, or can you reach, communicate with, and engage your target audiences online? The key word here is “engage,” and the beauty of that is if you do it right, you get people doing the promoting for you. It’s called “Word of Mouth Marketing”. But seriously, if you’re not all over the web by now, you’re not there!
Are your People in line with what you’re promoting? Do all people working at your organization truly appreciate the importance of the customer and act accordingly? Will they go the extra mile to please a customer, even if they are in accounting or another administrative department? What will it take to convert every single person in your organization into a marketer? What are the training programs that will be needed to get them there?
Are you a company that’s easy and pleasant to do business with? Are business processes streamlined and optimized for performance and marketing? Some companies promise the world, but fail their customers miserably because they are just too bureaucratic when it comes to serving them.
Does the look and feel of your showroom/office adequately reflect your brand’s values and messages? Offices and retail shops have a way of breaking down and looking old. If it’s time to refurbish and redecorate, make sure your interior designer understands the values and image you’re trying to reflect. If there isn’t a budget for that, adding a few touches here and there can take you a long way as well.
Again, now is the perfect time to revamp your marketing plan for the coming year. In fact, there isn’t that much time left, so you better get started soonest so you kick-off 2014 with a fresh start and lots of new and repeat business on your radar screen 🙂
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
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