This week’s focus is how marketing strategy is instrumental to the success of your company. Do you follow @BrandXConsultants on Instagram? Hurry over and check out our free five part video series on “Marketing Strategy.” Why all the focus on marketing strategy? Not having a marketing strategy is like opening a business with no business plan! Creating a marketing strategy and re-accessing your progress throughout the year will help you stay on track and meet your sales goals! Having a strong marketing strategy will help you have consistent sales throughout the year by planting a “seed” in your customer’s head on WHEN and WHERE to purchase your products.
Let’s keep this simple with 4 Easy Steps to Develop Your Marketing Strategy:
1- Marketing Calendar
When I meet with clients and introduce the year round marketing calendar, I receive a lot of resistance. The biggest complaint I receive is that they do not carry retail products so they do not need to plan that far in advance. This is WRONG. Putting together a calendar helps you plan for holidays, plan for peak and off peak sales periods, and plan when to accurately start marketing to your clients for when you want them to purchase products or services.
Let’s use the example of a personal trainer. Personal trainers have peak and off-peak sales cycles. Unlike almost every single business, their peak season is Q1 due to all the New Year’s Resolutioners wanting to get into shape. Q2 bathing suit season. Summer is slow and then we creep into the holidays when people tend to work out less, eat more, and wait for January 1st! Am I right? In order for personal trainers to have consistent sales throughout the year, we need to plan promotions, competitions, workout plans, deals, etc and schedule them fir when we want them to drive sales. What products do you want to see selling in September? In November? You want to put all of this on your marketing calendar!
2- Marketing to your Customers to Plant the Sales Seed
Does your company tend to see a sales dip in the summer months? You are not alone! If you want people to purchase your products in the summer months you need to start “planting the seeds” of when and where you want them to purchase approximately 1.5 months ahead of schedule.
Pop Quiz. You want to focus on selling dry kibble to your customers in September. When do you need to start planting the sales seed for your customers to come in September to purchase? You have to be creative in your promotions and offerings and make sure that you are getting the word out in a sufficient amount of time. What can you do that will make them want to utilize your products and services during this time? Your marketing should be wrapped around those answers and start in end of July or the beginning of August.
3- Marketing Budget
Another important aspect of your marketing strategy is when and how you should be budgeting your marketing dollars. When I meet with my clients, I request sales from the previous 2 years. I take those sales and put them on a line chart to analyze which months are their peak seasons and make note of their non-peak seasons. Peak seasons are great. However, you can not just bank on them. Marketing budgets need to be allocated throughout the year, keeping these seasons in mind.
I worked with a large brand, a brand I would say 90% of Americans can recognize. They informed me they were going to decrease their marketing budget by 40% for Q4. In doing so, their sales stayed the same as the year before with no growth! They were ultimately disappointed in their sales, believing that even though they were a large brand their sales would be 30-40% higher than the year before. This decrease in marketing budget allowed their competitors to increase their market share and see exceptional YOY growth.
4- Marketing Trends/ Accessing your Plan
In Q3, studies are released predicting how the retail sales cycle will be. Based on these studies, we need to analyze our sales goals and marketing strategies. Even though these studies are based on retail (generally grocery, pharmacy, and big box channels), we tend to see general buying patterns following into these categories (purchasing a house, etc.) As a company, you should always monitor market trends, your competitor’s product/service lines, their sales, your own brand growth, etc to ensure your marketing strategy is realistic to meet your sales goals. Most of the time, sales and marketing are two different departments that do not tend to work together which can create strife and inhibit reaching goals. Setting realistic goals on both sides is crucial in being successful and not falling short due to unrealistic expectations.
Do you feel like your marketing strategy is lacking or you are not meeting your sales goals? Brand X Consultants can help! We partner with companies, are able to quickly analyze the market, as well as, constantly keep up with buying trends. We can look at your business and set realistic marketing/sales goals for strong year over year growth. Having an experienced outsider come in and look at your marketing strategy can give you insight you have not seen, but insight that can make all the difference!