Susan Dobbe-Leahy, of Dobbe Marketing, explains how updating your marketing plan by incorporating a fresh perspective can be not only be a useful strategy, but an exciting adventure.
Leaders in business are planning their marketing budgets for 2017. Can you hear the collective groan? Planning can be an exciting adventure if you incorporate a fresh perspective. But groans are in order if your plan is to mirror last year’s marketing to achieve a different result. Get a new plan and make some new noise that your audience will applaud!
Over the past couple of years, you probably added social media to your marketing mix, mostly because it’s inexpensive and everyone hopes that something will go viral.
Here are some common social media marketing efforts of mid-sized businesses:
• Facebook posts by the summer intern
• Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts with initial posts (again, done by the intern)
• YouTube channel with just one video
These tactics are valuable to your marketing effort, but only if there’s an overall strategy behind these actions. When was the last time you evaluated your strategy and created a comprehensive marketing plan?
Still trying to recall? Then, it’s time to revisit your image and message.
Start at the bottom. The foundation of your marketing strategy – of your business image – is the overall brand. The past five years have brought a drastically changed marketplace and new methods of doing business. Has your business evolved?
Richardson Corn Maze, in Spring Grove, is billed as the World’s Largest Corn Maze and has become a global tourism destination. This farm is a multi-generational family business that was homesteaded in 1840 by Robert Richardson. In 2001, the family introduced the annual corn maze.
Each year, the maze concepts become more creative and complex. They’ve incorporated popular culture that appeals to a broad audience, with subjects like sports champions, comical themes and seasonal themes.
Beyond the corn maze, Richardson’s Adventure Farm has added amenities that allow the entire family to enjoy fun, campfires, music, s’mores, warm cider and a barn full of country fun. Last year, a 50-foot tall observation tower and a 50-foot slide were added.
The Richardson family polished their farm fields and uncovered a sparkling gem. What’s hidden in your business inventory? How can you evolve your products and services to appeal to more and different audiences? Don’t groan when marketing budgets are expected. Rather, take the time to investigate what you have, and do so with objectivity in mind.
Invest in a critical review of your business brand and current message. Consider an external consultant who can collect the proper data and assess the situation objectively.
-Who is your best client?
-Who is a potential secondary client?
-What is your geographic reach?
-How is your marketing mix working?
-How has your sales process evolved, or how should your process evolve?
-Does your key message click with your clients?
The answers to these points can direct your strategy and planning. Identifying and attracting your best audience with a fresh perspective can rejuvenate your business. Taking what you’ve always done and reframing it into something new can be exciting and rewarding.
You may have a World’s Largest Corn Maze of your own. With a little creative investigation and strategic planning, an exciting new business opportunity can emerge for you.