Category Archives: strategy

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.

Book Review: Star Brands

Star Brands A Brand Managers Guide to Build Manage and Market BrandsCarolina Rogoll’s new book, Star Brands: A Brand Manager’s Guide to Build, Manage & Market Brands is a  great resource for anyone seeking structured guidance on creating a brand plan.

Rogoll presents a five-step practical guide on taking a business and brand from conception… to realization… to success.

I like her five points – They are  very similar to the 4 M’s of Marketing that I use. I would combine point 3 and 4 (Crafting a Communication Strategy and Establishing a Marketing Strategy) into a single point, but a 4 sided star looks a lot more like a rectangle!! So I completely understand why she separates the two.

Carolina Rogoll - from LinkedInShe has a great background – real world experience (her LinkedIn profile says P&G experience since 2003) — combined with working as an educator in branding (School of Visual Arts In NYC.)

I also like that she uses case studies from famous brands, such as Harley Davidson and MasterCard, and  interviews withbusiness school professors, advertising agency leaders and former CEOs.

Star Brands is a practical book that business professionals and entrepreneurs can use as their own brand building “workbook.”

Of course, I can’t let a book review pass without mentioning my book. I wrote it to help the small business owner who wants to brand and market their business: Simple Steps, Big Results. It’s been my experience that learning lessons from big brands is very helpful – especially in theory – but when you’re dealing with a micro budget, sometimes lessons don’t translate from the million dollar brands.

Full Disclosure: While my Amazon link does NOT attach to an affiliate link, nor am I being paid for this review, I did receive the e-book for free in exchange for doing this review.

Want a Quick Way to Learn the Demographics of a Zip Code?

Zip code look upFor income, age, lifestyle and population density of any particular area, Zip Tapestry, a handy website tool, allows you to just type in a zip code and have quick demographic info at your finger tips.

Could be great if you’re looking for the next location for your retail shop, planning to relocate your business and not sure about neighborhoods… or just planning your next move in general.

Reminds me a little bit of a program called Claritis from Neilson that I learned about in the late 90’s. You can look at a variety of factors of a geographic area… and then look at the psycho-graphics.

I like how easy it is in Zip Tapestry to enlarge the map, set it to one of the parameters like average income… then just mouse around to find out the various zip codes… You can see the screen cap of Franklin TN outside of Nashville in the photo.

Switch it to average age to find the pockets of the age group that is most likely to use your products and services.

Click on the Tapestry tab to see the phrase that describes a percent of the population. Then click the arrow to learn the definition of there phrase. It’s a quick way to get direction on geographic areas.

Hat tip: LifeHacker

Researching Household Income for Your Marketing Plan?

census driven income information for your marketing planHaving a tool that allows you to modify the settings can be really helpful.

That’s why I like this interactive map that is driven from data from the US census.

If you are including average household income in your marketing plan and your business is geographically based, you may find this interactive map that uses census data to isolate counties and tracts within the county by income extremely helpful.

It allows you to have a visual analysis of average income which could be a handy tool in creating your marketing program in your business plan.

Narrowing your marketing plan to include visuals of areas of higher income for target advertising

The tool includes the enlarge and reduce map components with the Google guy (the little orange/yellow figure that you can drag into the map to get a visual of walking or driving in the area.)

I could imagine if you were trying to figure out an EDDM mailing or where to open your next store, this could be a real help!

How do You Go About Branding and Marketing a City, County or State?

Hudson Ohio gazebo in the fall on the greenHow important is it that people know about your city, county or state?

Test yourself on your ability to name the 50 states here.

I think you’ll agree that the scores make it apparent which ones invest in branding and marketing their state.

When a city or economic area leaders decide they need to brand and market their city, town, county or state, critics often argue back with two threads: why does it cost so much… and why do we need someone outside to tell us who we are?

The costs to market vary widely — but most areas will agree hiring someone from the outside is more effective than trying to do it yourself. They have often tried to do it themselves without a lot of success.

Probably the best way is to hire a marketing firm that specializes in location marketing for cities, counties or specific areas. While that may seem too expensive, trying to do it from the inside, can result in lost opportunity dollars for many many years to come. When someone looks at his or her own area, it’s too easy to assume that people should just KNOW how great your area is and all the wonderful benefits it has to offer.

My hometown (population about 25,000) has hired a marketing company to help bring new business into town. The city council hired a firm that specializes in helping cities distinguish itself from surrounding towns and county, to help promote tourism, to help create jobs, and to help retain or increase home sales in Hudson Ohio. The three year program from Atlas Advertising from Denver CO will total over $250,000.

A town just north of Hilton Head, Port Royal South Carolina decided to hire a branding company with this RFP. They hired Rawle Murdy Associates for $40,000.

The nearby area, just a 10 minute drive away Port Royal, Main Street Beaufort is spending $12,000 collected from parking meters for their marketing plan.

And a little farther south, Miami Florida and Dade county are doing it for free “in house” with the help of the tourist and convention center’s staff.

Regardless of what is actually spent on the plan, there are usually several stages… discovery, gathering information, surveying people, creative – developing the positioning, creating a logo and tagline and all the supporting materials, and execution – distribution of the materials and getting all the stakeholders to actually use the branding in their marketing efforts.

Some companies will use steps like these:

1) Establishing core values through a marketing audit
2) Best-practices review
3) Work session meetings with residents and social media monitoring
4) Developing a brand identity
5) Action plan for marketing

Getting the community to embrace it after the work has been done and paid for is a crucial step.

Other area marketing plans:
Tour Chautauqua
Visit California – Find Yourself Here
Virginia – LOVE campaign. Virginia Tourism Authority 2012-2014 Strategic Plan
Teton County – Idaho

Have a good one? Please leave a link to it in the comments. Add the price that was paid as well if you know it.