Time flies, doesn’t it? It seems like only yesterday I wrote my marketing predictions post for 2017. Yet here we are, less than three months from Christmas and then onto 2018.
This time of year tends to get busy, with preparations for Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas taking up much of our extra time and energy. One thing we don’t do early enough, however, is look for ways to improve (usually we wait until New Year’s Day to do this...and we all know how that turns out!).
The same is true for businesses. January is often the month in which new strategies are discussed and implemented, but why not start looking ahead a little earlier this year?
With that, I’ll jump right into the three ways to boost your marketing strategy before the end of 2017.
Putting together a marketing strategy isn’t easy. Even the great ones aren’t perfect. You start out the year with the best laid plans, but things usually change. Once a component that has an explicit purpose or role gets removed, everything after it functions differently.
By the time Q4 rolls around, the year’s “strategy” doesn’t look much like the original blueprint. If this sounds like your current situation, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
There are two ways you can go from here: pout about it and bemoan your failures. Or do a thorough analysis of the strategy and determine where and why things went wrong.
Which one sounds more productive to you?
Even if you’re down on your 2017 marketing strategy, chances are you did a bunch right. Maybe you added over 500 new social media followers across various accounts. Perhaps you generated hundreds more visitors to your blog than the previous year. You even managed to generate a few backlinks from high quality industry authorities.
Despite the strategy’s failure to boost your bottom lines as much as you expected, accomplishments like this are big wins that can actually pull your marketing strategy back together before the end of the year.
All you need to do is identify and fill in the gaps.
For example, let’s say you have a blog post that did particularly well the week you published it. You were excited and expected to get more visitors and maybe even customers out of the post in the weeks that followed. Instead, the post fizzled.
But did you support the post with outreach emails after its initial surge? Did you run social ads to keep the momentum going? Did you ensure that everybody in your company was vigilant in sharing the piece on their social platforms? No?
The good news, however, is you can still return to this post and fill the gaps between its long-term performance and the results you expect. Even if it’s from much earlier in the year, there is still ample time for it to make a difference.
Reinvigorating posts and other resources like this is definitely one way you can boost your marketing strategy before the end of 2017!
Out with the Old, In with the New
Another common error we see companies make with their underperforming marketing strategies is compounding that underperformance. When a component or tactic of their strategy clearly isn’t working – and even if they realize it in July – they continue to use it until the end of the year because it’s “part of the strategy.”
We’ve already discussed how strategies and components often change due to time or resource constraints, yet when it comes to something that is delivered on time (but not getting results) companies will stick with it.
There is no reason to ride out parts of a strategy that aren’t working. You don’t need to wait until next year. Do it as soon as you know for sure that the tactic isn’t moving the needle forward.
Sometimes, gaps in your strategy are created by the things you aren’t doing, as outlined above. But other times, you might put holes in your strategy with the things you are doing.
The key here is understanding that your marketing strategy is fluid. The moment you stop putting time and energy toward something that isn’t working is the same moment you boost your marketing strategy before the end of the year!
Make Experiences More Important
We’ve written about customer experience a lot lately (here and here) and it’s because we truly believe in its power. The customer experience your brand delivers is an area where you can significantly boost your marketing at the end of 2017 and into 2018.
In theory, it’s pretty simple. To improve the experiences of your customers, you need to:
- Help your employees embrace your brand
- Do what you say you’ll do, no matter what
- Match your marketing messages to the experience you deliver
The question is, do you know how your customers rate their experiences with you? If not, finding out is the most important thing you can do for your current and future marketing efforts.
Whether you use social media, email, a tool like SurveyMonkey or hand out surveys to your customers in person, getting feedback shouldn’t be too difficult. Once you have the unbiased details of your brand’s customer experience, you can begin making changes that’ll boost your marketing strategy before the end of 2017.
Patience is most certainly a virtue, especially in marketing. But when it comes to managing the impact of your marketing strategy, don’t wait to make improvements. By identifying gaps in your strategy, cutting out tactics that aren’t working, and making your customers’ experience a top priority, you can undoubtedly boost your marketing strategy sooner rather than later.
Do you plan on trying any of these methods? Is there anything we missed that can help businesses boost their marketing strategy before the end of 2017? Let us know in the comments or chime in on Twitter, we’re always discussing this stuff @wsiworld.