With 2016 quickly approaching, make this the year you put a marketing plan in place and start measuring your success.
It’s one of the first things I ask my customers. Unfortunately, I don’t always get a response.
Anytime someone is considering advertising with Hardwood Floors, I’ll ask, “What do you hope to achieve?” Or, “What is your marketing goal?” The response to that question serves as the starting point for our conversation and helps me guide you to the right products. However, most of the time the customer hasn’t clearly outlined what they hope to achieve — whether it’s brand recognition, driving traffic to their site, lead generation, becoming a thought leader in the industry or all of the above.
Nearly every marketer I speak to knows that advertising helps their company. They know that reaching the Hardwood Floors audience can help drives sales. But as for the specifics? Many haven’t gotten that far. And that’s what I wanted to address in today’s blog.
Below are four recommendations to help you get started on your new and successful 2016 marketing plan.
1. Creating a Marketing Plan Helps You Maximize Your Investment
As Ben Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” That’s not to say you’re bound to fail without a marketing plan. But having a plan will help you stay organized. It will lay out your key initiatives and a road map to achieve them. It will make your workflow more efficient. It will allow you to target key dates and maximize special promotions and trade show exposure. And best of all, it can help you maximize your investment and track the ROI. If you go into the year with a set plan and a set budget you can find advertising resources to make the most of that budget.
2. Outline Goals and Create a Plan Around Those Goals
Is your company looking for more awareness in the market? Are you looking to grow market share? Boost sales of a particular product? Improve the perception of your brand? Become a thought leader in the industry? Different companies have different objectives. Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish will help you narrow down your advertising options and find the solutions that are right for you. See what’s worked for some of the industry’s top brands in our Advertiser Success Stories.
3. Integrated Marketing is the Best Approach
It’s important to remember that different prospects engage with different forms of media. Digital marketing receives a lot of buzz and at Hardwood Floors we’re working hard on some advanced technology to make your digital advertising more effective. Yet, there is a large segment of our audience that only reads the printed magazine. In fact, 93% of professionals surveyed in a 2013 study by Martin Akel and Associates said that print publications are still a “desirable way” to access information. Also, in a 2015 HF readership survey done by Readex Research, 82% of respondents said the number one way they keep up to date on industry products is trade publications and websites.
Whether your advertising plans include Hardwood Floors or not, we recommend using an integrated approach — making your brand visible in print and online — to ensure you reach the entire market and not just a portion who chooses to consume one form of media.
RELATED: Why Marketers Can’t Ignore Trade Media
4. Determine How Success Will Be Measured
Perhaps the most important part of your marketing plan will be measuring its performance. This will vary depending on your marketing goals and the product mix in your plan. Common measurables for our advertising partners include number of impressions their ads receive, traffic to their website, growth in social media following, clicks on web ads, or open rates and click-throughs on Custom E-Mails. We can help you test different types of messaging and determine what is most successful for your brand.
With a new year just around the corner, it’s important to start thinking about your plan for 2016. I’d be happy to speak with you about your specific objectives and help determine the best path forward. In the meantime, happy planning!