You heard it here first…
I know that it isn’t even the first of October 2017 and there are three months left before the start of a new year (that thought personally scares me). However, most of our clients at IMS have already started their planning for 2018 which means it is a very busy time of the year for us too.
After 10 years in business, we can predict the mistakes that happen year after year when it comes to marketing planning. Here are the top 5 mistakes for you all to avoid:
Not having a plan
This sounds obvious but you would be surprised how many companies spend weeks creating budgets but spend little or no time on their plans for achieving these budgets. If a fraction of the time spent generating financially driven reports and sales targets were invested in the marketing planning process it would identify the challenges and opportunities that marketing needs to support. The best time to create your marketing plan is before or during your budgeting process, not after. Start early and your sales budgets and plans will be more realistic and the right level of marketing resources will be set aside.
Not engaging in market research
When was the last time you conducted customer or competitor market research for your business? Research is the bedrock of good planning and while that may be stating the obvious, our experience is that it is nearly always towards the bottom of the list when it comes to marketing spend. We passionately believe it should be at the top of the list! Talk to your existing customers and identify how you can sell more to them. Research new companies and understand their present/future needs. Take a close look at your local and international competitors to benchmark what they do and identify how you can be more competitive in the future.
Not linking your marketing efforts to your sales process
Marketing is not an isolated, separate part of your business. It is inextricably linked to the sales process. Sales needs Marketing to create the right brand image, create awareness and leads for the business. Marketing, on the other hand, needs Sales to have a clear sales process that is managed and measured in a structured way. When both work together you get true synergy, measurement and you can start to see a return-on-investment. It is no fluke that companies that have formal CRM systems in place perform better than those that don’t. If you don’t have a CRM system, make this a priority for 2018.
Mistaking good design for good marketing
It always surprises me how much companies will spend on ‘design’, whether that it’s for a website or a brochure, and how little they actually spend on marketing their company, products or services. A good website will win you ZERO new business unless it is visible and promoted. A beautiful brochure will only be impressive if you can find new leads and create the opportunities to hand the brochure to a prospect. This may sound strange coming from a company that also designs websites and brochures, but in 2018 please invest more in marketing than in design – companies that do, see the difference.
Not spending (enough) in digital marketing
Digital marketing is no longer a new or separate part of marketing. It is a core or central part of marketing even for B2B or more traditional industries, such as engineering and electronics. In all of its forms (e-mail, social media, video, search engine optimisation, etc.) digital marketing is infinitely more measurable than advertising, pr and tradeshows. The latter still has a large role to play but my advice is to spend more in digital marketing in 2018 as the better-performing companies in Ireland and internationally are already doing this.
It would be easy to identify more than 5 mistakes in this blog. However having worked with hundreds of companies since 2007 the evidence is clear: Companies that view marketing as an integrated part of their business rather than a piecemeal or ad-hoc tool performs much better than those that don’t.
If you feel our team at IMS Marketing can help you with any of these points for 2018, we would love to hear from you! 091 739 450