December 17, 2014

Forget the resolutions. Here are some useful tips.

Tips for your marketing plan in 2015!

Tips for your marketing plan in 2015!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve already plunged headfirst into planning for 2015. But with the marketing industry in a constant state of change, you have to hustle to keep up with the latest ways to reach your customers. What will your most effective marketing efforts look like in the New Year?

I’m glad you asked. Working at a full-service agency, I can get advice from colleagues in all areas of the industry — from media to PR to web development. And luckily I’d love to share this advice with you. Consider it a holiday gift.

Make sure you really, really know your buyers.

Of course you know your customers. You talk to them, you know their demographics — but have you written this information down? Create personas for each of your target buyers. A 35-year-old stay-at-home mom has different needs than a 25-year-old single male professional. And they each consume information from different channels in different ways. You’ll need to target each of them in totally different ways. Once they reach your website, do you know their digital behaviors? Track the source of their website visit. Could be your email newsletter or maybe your social media sites. Which one is giving you the best lead to customer return? Review this data monthly to learn what’s working and what isn’t.

Don’t give people a reason to hate you on their mobile device.

According to a Pew Research study, 58% of American adults own a smartphone, and 60% of those adults use their phone to access the Internet. If your company website isn’t responsive, you’re missing online opportunities. If your site isn’t easy to read on a smartphone, tablet or any other device, users will leave it to find one that is. Personally, I throw a mini-tantrum when the information I need is too tiny to read and too hard to navigate. I immediately go back to Google and continue my search.

It’s about what you say and how you say it.

Jason Cockerham, User Experience Designer

Jason Cockerham, User Experience Designer

Our User Experience Designer Jason Cockerham gives this advice: “For a website, no matter what the new trend is, content is always king. Stop with the marketing fluff and corporate BS! Your content should be short, insightful and to the point. Pairing good content with proper website development techniques (good markup, responsive design, accessibility, etc.) will help both sell your product/service and boost your search engine rankings.”

Another tip: Be helpful. “Your content shouldn’t sell yourself,” says Scott Bille, our Interactive Director. “It should have value for your prospects.”

In other words, think about your buyers and how they buy, not how you think you should sell to them. Create content for your website that offers them value. Give them pointers in the forms of e-books, white papers or demos. Start building a relationship with them the first time they touch your website.

Be ready with the next type of content.

Kathleen Doyle, Digital Media Planner/Buyer

Kathleen Doyle, Digital Media Planner/Buyer

You’ve written all types of e-books and white papers and shared them all through social media. But what’s next? Kathleen Doyle, from our digital media team, gives this insight: “Marketers should be considering how to incorporate video into their plans. Whether it’s airing TV commercials, running pre-roll ads, posting to social media, or building a successful YouTube channel, video is where the most engaged audiences are.”

Lights, camera, action! Get to it!

PR is also going digital.

Kajsa Haracz, Account Supervisor, Public Relations

Kajsa Haracz, Account Supervisor, Public Relations

Public relations plays a huge role in telling a brand’s story. And — no surprise — it’s also going digital. Public Relations Account Supervisor Kajsa Haracz offers these three tips: “My 2015 PR must-do list includes video, earned and paid social media, and measurement. Always look for opportunities to tell client stories via videos, especially if the audience was born after 1980. In the ever-changing world of social media, PR professionals have to work with media buyers and digital specialists to come up with creative ways to engage the audience. Finally, all that communicators do — whether it’s working with paid or earned media — have to be measurable. Showing ROI is key to all campaigns — no matter the size or topic. Measure or bust!”

Sales + marketing = BFFs — make sure to measure that relationship.

In the old days, sales and marketing entered the boxing ring on a daily basis: “Marketing isn’t giving us enough qualified leads!” “Sales isn’t following up quickly enough!” Whatever. It’s over. Plan your campaigns together for 2015. Define what marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs) are so you’re on the same page. Know exactly whom you’re targeting, know why and how, and know what parts of your plan each department is responsible for. Put SMART goals into your marketing plan. A CRM system makes tracking and reporting much easier, and shows what efforts are producing the best results.

And that, my friend, should guide you as you navigate the ever-changing waters of the marketing industry in the year ahead. Stay tuned for more updates and advice.

Or read our guide on 10 useless things you could cut from your marketing now.