Marketing tip: Start 2016 with a plan

To make 2016 a prosperous, successful year, start with a marketing plan. Whether you employ a marketing manager, hire a consultant or do it yourself, here are a few things to include in your plan:

  • Know your customers. Think about the customers you’ve served in the past year. What do they care about? Where do they live and work? What do they have in common? How did they find you? Create a profile of the type of customer you’ll target in the future.
  • Define what you have to offer. Start the year with a fresh look at the benefits your business delivers to your target customer. Then boil it down to a sentence or two. This short statement about your benefits is your unique selling proposition. Use it to stay focused on how you stand out in the marketplace.
  • Understand your competition. Take time to identify your competitors and what they offer. How can you position yourself to compete?
  • Set concrete goals. Clarify the measurable short- and long-term business goals you want to achieve, and then create a timeline and mechanisms to track progress.
  • Choose the best marketing channels. Unless you have an unlimited marketing budget, you can’t be everywhere. Take into account what marketing channels generated the best leads in the past and where you’re most likely to reach your target customers, and then focus your resources on the channels that will deliver the greatest results.