The 4 Questions You Must Answer Before Building Your 2018 Marketing Plan


Plan. Plan. Plan. As a business owner, planning is just as important to your business as almost any other aspect. So it should come as no surprise that when you begin to look at building your marketing plan, there’s plenty of planning involved.

Your marketing plan is like the roadmap that you’ll use to guide your sales efforts throughout the year, so it’s important that you take a step back and evaluate your current marketing plan, as well as the state of your business as a whole, before digging into your 2018 marketing plan.

Now that you’re ready to go, pump the breaks for a second. Here are four questions you should consider before you put pen to paper.

Do You Have A Well-Defined Target Market?

Having a well-defined target market is one of the most important aspects of your marketing plan. It’s part of the foundation of your marketing efforts, especially since you can’t realistically target everyone. So as you begin to think about your target market, look at your business and list out the products or services your offer, then write out the benefits to each of them. You’ll use these benefits to help you determine who would find their needs met by your products and services. As you define your target market, you’ll consider factors like age, income, ethnic background, marital status, and gender, but you’ll also dig deeper by considering things like personality, behaviors, attitudes, and values.

A well-defined target market will help you when it comes to your marketing creative. If you’ve decided to target women age 35-50 who have an income of $100,000 and likes to travel and knit, then your creative, whether it’s print ads, radio spots or a social media campaign, has to fit that mold.

Like we said earlier, you can’t realistically target everyone, so when you narrow your consumers and message, you’re much more likely to get the results (ROI) you desire. You can’t cast a wide net and hope that customers notice you, especially if they are not interested in your products or services.

How Are You Currently Measuring Market Success?

As a business owner, we know that measuring your success and programs is important, especially when it comes to your bottom line.

From a marketing standpoint, before you can ever put a plan in place you have to develop a methodology for how you will measure your efforts — insert your KPIs here. An example of a KPI you can use for your marketing efforts is incremental sales. Essentially this is your total sales subtracted from your baseline sales.

Here’s a great example of an incremental sales KPI in action, courtesy of Klipfolio:

“A retailer expects to sell $24,000 worth of water bottles in a typical month without advertising. In May, while running a Mobile Ad Banner Campaign that cost $1,500, the store sells $30,000 worth of water bottles. Its owners calculates incremental sales generated by the ad campaign as follows: Incremental Sales ($) = $30,000 - $24,000 = $6,000.

Additionally, you may consider other metrics to measure your campaign success, such as likes, followers, shares, and engagement on social media, or the open rate of an email campaign. Analytics, of which there are many programs available, are probably one of the best metrics a business owner can use to see exactly how much traffic they are generating on their websites.

So how do these tie into your creative efforts? Well, say you want to measure how well your current email campaign is operating, you can easily check that stats and know exactly how many times the email was opened. A study by Statista shows that “86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly, and 15% would like to get them daily.”

That’s good news for your bottom line. In fact, Econsultancy tells us that “three quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI.

Is Your Current Marketing Plan Delivering Quality Leads That Actually Bring Revenue?

We all know that in order for your business to be successful, you need to continually generate news leads that ultimately generate revenue. So how do you generate quality leads? Well, thankfully technology is a big help. In today’s day and age, social media and online search engines are here to give you a hand. When someone “likes” or “follows” your business on social media, it’s a good indication they are interested in your products or services, so a lot of the work is already done for you. The same can be said if they are actively searching for products you carry online.

If you want to turn leads into sales, the first thing you need to do is get your message in front of the right audience through a variety of advertising channels, such as radio ads, SEO, PPC, or direct mail. One of the best ways you can generate leads is through great content, such as e-books, white papers, blogs, ads, and landing pages. Great content sets you apart from the competition. It helps keep you top of mind as a go-to resource.

No matter which vehicle you choose to use as your delivery method, keep one thing in mind. Your creative must consistently match your goals, target audience and brand promise, no matter if it’s radio or social media, print or digital. By continually focusing on generating quality leads, you’ll increase the likelihood that your leads convert are converted into sales.

Is Your Current Marketing Plan Allowing You To Be Visible At The Right Times To The Right People?

Would it surprise you that umbrella companies see an increase in sales when it rains? Just like you shouldn’t be surprised to hear the music playing as an ice cream truck rolls down the street on a hot day. There’s something to be said about being in the right place at the right time. Is your marketing plan setup so you can be visible when your potential customers need you? Even once you’ve identified the right audience, it’s important that you target them on the appropriate channel, whether that’s on their favorite social media channel, a local radio station or through a series of print ads.

As a business owner, we know you are busy and your time is valuable, so why not create a calendar that you use to determine when your content and messages will be broadcast, based on the seasons, themes, or other notable events. Using a calendar-type of process will not only help you track your content and messaging overall, but it will help you keep track of which channels you are using to reach your audience.

No matter what type of products and services you offer, there are endless ways that you can promote them to your targeted audience throughout the course of the year, whether during a summer sale, a back to school special, or an annual social media audit.

Taking The Next Step

Now that we’ve discussed the four questions you must answer before building your marketing plan, it’s time to put the wheels in motion. It’s incredibly important that you take some time to think through each of these questions and determine the best strategy for your business. The Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group team is here to help, so don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. We have the experience to help you craft the perfect marketing plan, as well as produce all of the creative you’ll need to execute, from an updated website and social media management to radio spots and print design.


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