2017 is knocking on the door. Whether January 1st marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for your community or it’s just another page on the calendar, the new year is a time to reset, refresh, and renew your marketing efforts.
Every year, we do an extensive “Review/Preview” with our clients. You can do it, too: take these last few weeks of 2016 to review the year by the numbers, get curious about what you find, and look ahead to 2017 (and beyond).
Here is a summary of the types of questions we ask and information we examine.
5 Questions That Will Steer Your Marketing Success in 2017
- What worked, what hasn’t, and how do you measure it?
- What has changed in your marketplace that will affect your SWOT analysis?
- What are your goals for inquiries, sales, and traffic, and how do you rate your agency’s capacity to tailor programs to fit your goals?
- What is your marketing budget and spending plan for the next year?
- What will you implement that’s NEW in 2017?
What worked, what hasn’t, and how do you measure it?
Take a good, hard look at your numbers for lead generation, sales, and all of the stops in between. Examine which lead sources gave you the most inquiries, tours, and sales for your money, and how the ROI on each lead source compares to others and to previous years.
Time is money. Consider both the ROI and the amount of time required to make the sale when evaluating the success of a lead source. Which of your lead sources move most quickly from first contact to sale?
Marketing event attendance can be measured in the same way, relative to sales. An event with low turnout, but high ratio of tours and eventual sales relative to the cost is an event that has worked well.
Other areas to examine include incentives, staff trainings, referral programs, and networking/public relations campaigns.
Obviously, overall sales are a marker of what’s working. Look closely at your data to evaluate what those sales have in common, whether it is the lead source, the level of follow-up, event attendance, or other common thread.
Just like the “what worked” question, consider lead generation tactics, events, trainings, and incentives that didn’t get the response you would have liked. Were they well supported and well timed? It’s worth noting whether these tactics have worked in the past, and if there were significant changes to their deployment this year.
What has changed in your marketplace that will affect your SWOT analysis?
A lot can change in a year. Your updated SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) should consider both internal and external influences on your community.
- Change in available inventory
- Shift in marketing budget to new or different tactics
- Staffing changes
- Pricing and contract changes
- Increased or decreased staff trainings
- Increased or decreased competition
- Changes in local and national economy
- Regulatory changes
- Unusual weather patterns (exceptional snowfall, drought, floods) that may influence event turnout, tours, or decisions to move.
What are your goals for sales, traffic, and inquiries and how do you rate your agency’s capacity to tailor programs to fit your goals?
After determining the sales goal for the coming year, we look at client data as well as industry standards to determine goals for overall traffic and inquiries required to meet the sales goal.
It’s also a good time to evaluate your agency’s capacity to customize lead generation programs that fit your market, audience, and goals. How nimble and focused is your agency?
What is your marketing budget and spending plan for the next year?
Is your marketing budget and spending plan adequate to meet your goals, based on your data? Look for gaps in the budget. There should be adequate allotments for marketing:
Online – Website and content development, email campaigns, banners, videos, directory listings.
Broadcast – Direct mail, events, and telemarketing.
Referrals – Staffing, sponsorship, joint marketing and networking.
Print – Collaterals, newspaper advertising, print directories.
What Are You Going To Do That’s NEW in 2017?
I often say marketing is 80% tried and true and 20% something new. Here is a sampling of ideas I’m recommending that may be new to some.
- Incorporate more video on your websites, including events, testimonials, and video tours.
- Use storytelling in all aspects of marketing, from advertising to sales.
- Use traditional media and digital media to reinforce each other. Traditional media, such as print and television, should prompt prospects to pick up the phone, of course, but it should also drive them to the community’s website or facebook page.
- Make a strong link between new and traditional data sources. Look for information that is consistent across your website and social media analytics, and focus group and survey feedback.
So, what are you going to do that’s NEW in 2017? Let us know! We are always looking for new ideas to share with you, and for you to share with us. Or, call us for help generating new ideas to drive your success in 2017.