Fatal Mistakes: 4 Key areas that must be addressed to avoid marketing chasms
However, before we close of for the holiday period, send the kids to camp and take advantage of the party season, ask yourself, have you got your house in order? It doesn’t matter whether you’re only half-way through your financial year, or about to start fresh, if you don’t take some time to gather your thoughts, review your business goals and begin prepping for the year ahead, you might find that all your nurturing efforts over the past 6 – 9 months were in vain.
There’s no reason to put your corporate communications on hold or wait until the new year to recommence advertising, this is the perfect time to reach out with bold messaging because you have a captive audience. Throughout the rest of the year there’s so much content being streamed on a daily basis that people tend to be selective about what media and stories they consume. So, embrace the fact that society is addicted to being online. Use the holiday period to your advantage because it is the perfect time for people to catch up on market information, product releases and solution offerings.
Create a content strategy specifically for the holiday period so that your business is front of mind, even when there’s only lean resourcing on the ground. If you have a scheduling tool or outsource to an agency, you will end up with great coverage across multiple channels that people will read. And, when you return to the office to call your prospects, it will be on the back of something provocative and engaging that they will have been exposed to whilst enjoying a cool beverage by the pool, or sitting on the sofa avoiding family interactions, scrolling through social media for some much needed mental stimulation.
2. Account Planning
Here’s a great way to enjoy the tranquillity of the office over the holiday period while most of the office (and customer base) is on leave. Review all your stagnant accounts and contacts, particularly the ones you haven’t been in touch with for over three months, transferred over to a competitor at least twelve months ago, unsubscribed from your email communications, haven’t renewed their licencing, or haven’t upgraded to your latest hardware or software version.
This is your opportunity to ‘raise the dead’ so-to-speak. Your CRM should easily produce reports for you based on key segmentation parameters to readily identify the lowest hanging fruit to target. Next, define a range of tactics and use existing collateral and assets to commence returning these contacts to your nurture pool. Tap into their specific needs and show them what’s new and improved since they last heard from you. Personalise the interaction. Reach out to your vendor partners and see if you can secure Marketing Development Funds (MDF) to run a targeted campaign for a specific audience.
These are accounts that should be making you money, not lying cold. A relatively small investment of time and money will ensure you start the new year with a bang!
3. Gap Analysis & Audits
Regardless of whomever is managing your marketing strategy and activities throughout the year, this is a great time to review your existing content, assets and data. What you need to be assessing is the relevancy, age, accuracy, performance, persona, buying stage and hygiene (data only).
When you embark on the content and asset audit, you might come across some great information that just needs a little refresh before it can be repurposed. Don’t reinvent the wheel, salvage what you can and schedule it to target a net-new audience, or a relevant data set from your stagnated customer list. Spend time reviewing your vendor content too, you can personalise or rebadge a previous campaign if the information is still relevant. Be creative but strategic.
But spend your time wisely, make sure you review the strength and performance of the content and/or assets before deciding whether to give them a facelift and reincorporate them into your nurture strategy. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with the content itself, but rather the audience it was originally sent to or the time it was communicated didn’t resonate or attract attention. In this case, test it out again to alternate audiences or time of year when the topic is highly relevant.
Data Gap Analysis is a bit more tedious and onerous, but the rewards a worth the effort if you are able to cleanse, build out and gap-fill contact and account details that were previously useless. However, if this is not your forte, engage a data management company with expertise in your industry to do the heavy lifting – it’s worth investing some marketing dollars to get this done right.
Sometimes you need to take a step back from working in your business to realise that your processes and applications are too convoluted. If there’s no ‘one version of truth’ and none of your major applications are talking to each other, then you are not going to easily extract data on how your business is performing horizontally.
If your business has incrementally grown over the years and you’ve implemented a range of different finance, sales and marketing tools that offer no common denominator, it’s time to review your practices and consolidate. Chances are you are paying more than you need to per month to run six or more disparate applications. You can easily reduce these down to two main applications which happily talk to each other. The up-side, not only will you be reducing administration time, you will be streamlining operations, be able to automate processes, and allow your team to focus on building the business.
In summary, use this time of year to be proactive and plan how to maximise your business capabilities. Don’t become complacent and think there’s no point in making an impression, improving your messaging, reviewing your target audience needs or streamlining your business operations. When you have too much to focus on once the new year rolls around, finding the time to invest in your business will end up in the too-hard basket until something falls over and you’re forced into a reactionary mode. Avoid the stress, be strategic, and then sit back to enjoy the holiday period knowing you’ve got everything covered and under control.