The Questions Every Modern Marketing Plan Should Answer: Question #1
Believe it or not, it’s already time to start planning for 2015. The wishful marketer might think it’s appropriate to use last year’s plan as a template, make a few adjustments, and forge ahead into the New Year. But considering the rapidly changing marketing environment, this could be a costly mistake.
Factors such as the digital-triggered explosion of marketing complexity and the ever-distracted and expectant consumer continue to change the strategic landscape for marketers. It will be key to make sure your 2015 marketing plan includes answers to some key questions. Here’s the first in a series of questions your plan should answer:
QUESTION #1: What are my Client Lifecycle Priorities?
Resist the urge to focus your marketing plan entirely on new customer acquisition. The modern marketing plan should prioritize and support all four components of the client lifecycle:
1. Acquisition — Attracting new customers will likely continue to be a key focus of your plan. However, new mediums and strategies are emerging, and will improve the efficiency and intelligence of your acquisition effort. Consider segmenting and messaging to your database according to “stage-of-readiness” indicators, and integrate a content marketing strategy for acquisition targets.
2. Onboarding — Your plan should take a hard look at how well customers are activated, once acquired. Too many companies do a poor job of making customers feel good about their purchase decision, and miss an opportunity to generate customer satisfaction and corresponding evangelism.
3. Engagement — What will you do in 2015 to deepen your customer relationships?Modern consumers are content hungry. They seek to validate their decision to consume your brand through interacting with credible, useful and entertaining information from and about your products and services.
4. Retention — How will you strengthen your brand position and reinforce your value proposition among your current customer base? Plan to position against competitive offerings and communicate with existing customers, assuring themof the value of your offering.
By aligning your marketing messages with the various phases of the buying journey, you improve the ability for each message to resonate in a way that increases demand and consumption.
I really like the way it was stated in a recent Forrester Research article titled Create a Connected Communications Plan for the Post-Digital Era:
“In an effort to address message fragmentation, marketers are tempted to swing to uniformity of all messaging and creative across channels. But this matching set of marketing luggage is so 10 years ago; it’s overly simplistic and untenable in a world of user-generated content. In this post-digital age, where, when and how a customer receives a message affects relevance.”
When you allocate and prioritize marketing resources according to deficiencies in your client lifecycle, you begin to maximize the efficiency of each marketing dollar. Organizing your marketing plan around these objectives will be a great first step toward overall plan modernization.