Preparing Your 2016 Marketing Plan

2016 marketing planHave you been keeping up with your 2015 marketing program?

Perhaps your plan called for posting weekly in social media for your company and sending out a press release quarterly.

Are you on track with the plan… or did it get derailed?

I’ve seen companies put together a very aggressive marketing program at the beginning of the year with many trade shows, print ads, keynote speaking engagements, and other expensive or time intensive tactics.

Much like many January New Year’s resolutions, those over-achieving plans can get derailed when reality of the day-to-day, month-to-month workloads take hold.

And just like those resolutions, you shouldn’t just throw in the towel because things haven’t worked out the way you wanted them to. Now is the time to take stock of your 2015 marketing plans, get done what you can for 2015 and update your plan for 2016.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What worked? What didn’t get done but would have worked?
  • Do you need to have your 2016 marketing budget set? Now is the time to get quotes and estimates for next year.
  • Does your 2015 marketing budget disappear if you don’t use it? Don’t waste the opportunity to get your business off to a strong start in the New Year.

Take time today to review the 2015 plan. Look for the activities that will set you up for a strong 2016.

Preparation now will provide rewards down the road.

Minorities are Becoming the Majority of the United States Demographics

Photos courtesy
Photos courtesy

Here’s a riddle.  When is the minority, the majority?

I’ve written about the boomers as the huge demographic impacting the US consumer spending.

For many years, the focus of many consumer marketers was on the baby boomer generation.

Don’t get me wrong, there still is a huge buying group of boomers, but now it’s definitely time to shift focus to the millennials… and the group that is actually younger than the millennials!

The boomers (born around 1950 to 1965) are retiring at the rate of something like 10,000 people a day. And millennials, also known as the internet generation, are coming into the workforce and making a huge impact. But it is the next generation that are really changing the face of the U.S. Demographics.

Yes while the “Millennials” are a huge demographic.  Born in the 1980’s/90’s and 2000’s they are the internet generation. And it’s the partly the millennials, and also the next generation that are becoming the new majority demographic.  The majority this group are minorities.

Minority groups account for 50.2 percent of U.S. residents age 5 and under, 47.8 percent under the age of 20 and 46.4 percent under the age of 30.

In contrast, only 23 percent of those age 60 or older are from minority groups.

This may seem obvious to some people, but I continue to see very few minorities represented in many of the major consumer brand advertising and marketing.  When you look at demographics in the US, this shift is something that marketers must do more than just consider when selecting photos for websites, brochures and casting for videos.

The descriptions of minority and majority will blur for marketers with regards to the United States Demographics.

The answer to the riddle is the melting pot: The minority is the majority if your target market’s birthday falls after 2010!

I’m not really sure what this group of people will be called yet. Generation Z?  (I’ve heard “Homeland generation” but I don’t think that name is going to stick. ) Maybe this group seems a little young to worry about this now, but the time to look at your marketing is now!

So if you’re promoting a consumer brand, particularly if it’s a consumer brand focused on American under 30 years old, take a good hard look at your marketing visuals.

Do the visuals reflect the changes in the US Demographics and the marketplace?

What Does Your Meta Description Say About Your Company?

If you are a marketing professional in charge of the branding and marketing messages for your company, you’re probably acutely aware what your meta description says about your company.

You probably argued various versions with the “powers that be” and cajoled them into selecting a message that resonates with clear, compelling and memorable words.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Uh-Oh! Better go “google” a key phrase for your business and take a look.

Below is a screen capture of some meta descriptions. I’ve googled the phrase “chris brown marketing” and circled the meta descriptions in red to show you what I mean.

Google Your Meta Description

I’m talking about the 2 lines of copy that describes the webpage that was returned in the search results.

It’s the verbage that people read to decide if they should click on it or not.

I’ve also found that it can be very revealing for marketing positioning and when starting a online competitive review for a new client, I often start with a quick look at the competitor’s meta descriptions.

Don’t get me wrong. The title shown in blue, is very VERY important. You’ve probably set it up as the main keywords for your business… and for your business website, it’s probably your business name. But the title beyond the title is the meta description.

For the home page of a company it’s often what you’d want people to think and say about your company. Certainly what you’d want to tell them to get them to come visit your website.

Usually they only see these words when they search for information. But if you don’t conscientiously add a meta description, it automatically picks up the first 70 characters or so of the content on that page.

I recently tried it for “universities in Ohio” in preparation for a speech, I will be giving about creating positioning in branding for universities.

As you know, It’s a very difficult task to change the branding of a university. Alumni have strong feelings. Current students and faculty do too. And it’s often the potential students and their parents that are most strongly considered when the goal is to increase enrollment. However if the goal is to increase donations to improve the endowment, the positioning may be different.

Take a look at this 2 page PDF of the meta descriptions from universities in Ohio. Many of the descriptions are what you would expect, however as a marketer, I find it eye opening.

  • the use of the word “best” or “top”
  • Did one university forget completely about the meta description being a key online marketing media… and let the programmer write the description?
  • Maybe the cheering squad at the football game wrote one of the descriptions?
  • the role one university will play in about 12 months in the USA political election?
  • One university’s focus is the jobs it brings to their region

I’ve said it before. You can try to create your own brand positioning… but if you’re off target, you’ll find that the public will create the position without you. It’s hard to know what to keep and what to throw out.

So if you are a branding and marketing professional, your mini marketing homework for today is to check out your company’s meta description. Is that what you want it to say? Does it speak to existing employees? Potential customers? Or was it written by the programmer and says something like “don’t forget to enter the meta description here.” (Don’t laugh, I’ve seen something similar!)

Building a Blog – A Checklist for Success

bloggingAfter Google’s announcement that they would give priority to responsive, mobile friendly websites when someone searches from a website, I’m seeing more small business owners rely on WordPress for their content management software.

With WordPress comes an opportunity for a company blog. Many may find the concept of blogging to be a bit overwhelming and intimidating.

Let me guess. You are smiling. Either in agreement or otherwise. If you’re a blogger, you know the self discipline it takes to create, evaluate, proofread, monitor links and keep it updated. If you’ve tried to blog, you know the challenge of learning and making decisions. And if you’ve never tried it, but just read blogs, maybe you feel, “how hard could it be?”

Mike WallagherFor those who are ready to get started, I have a treat for you. Here’s a tool that will help you. Mike Wallagher’s How to Start Blogging guide. He claims that it has helped to launch 9,500 blogs.  And maybe so.  He has a very complete guide to help someone who is trying to navigate the world of the blog.  And that often describes a do-it-yourselfer Small Business Owner.

Mike approached me about adding his guide to my list of resources, which I plan to do. But I also felt that it warranted a full blog post of it’s own. After all, if so many small business owners are trying to start their own blog, they’re no doubt trying to make all those decisions for the first time. And Mike’s guide can help!

If you’ve used Mike’s start blogging online guide, please leave a comment below to let me know what you’ve thought of it.


Alphabet becomes Google’s Holding Company

Alphabet logoGoogle is going thru a branding and rebranding of sorts with the formation of a new holding company called Alphabet. Read all about it at ABC.xyc

Interesting name and logo, right?

We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha‑bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for!

Plain. Red. Simple.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page will head Alphabet and Sundar Pichai will become the CEO of Google. Susan Wojcicki continues as the CEO of YouTube.


UPDATE (8-12/2015): BMW owns