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Plan your annual marketing strategy

3 Things to Think About When Planning Your Annual Marketing Strategy

Managing a business requires skills in planning how to deal with friction and uncertainty. However, fast-changing technologies, globalization, increasing transparency, and even social responsibility, are upsetting the traditional business game, making the planning exercise much harder. How can we apply traditional planning methods in such a complex environment? With information changing daily, should your managers follow the plan or aim to gain real-time insights and act on them in quickly to effectively pilot the business? Is one year planning still relevant?

It appears performing companies in 2014 have primarily built superior capabilities and resources in three areas:

1. Building a unique selling proposition (USP)

Why should a prospect buy your product / service as opposed to that of a competitor? If you have not created a strong differentiating advantage, your potential tier 1 customer will not recognize it, and will probably go to the competition. In addition, USPs typically do not last long as the competition quickly imitates, catches up and seeks to further improve the proposition.

As a consequence, planning for the iterative development of USPs is key.

2. Testing, measuring, optimizing, testing etc…

If traditional analysis and forecasting methods fail to give robust answers, experimentation can fill that void. In addition, you cannot improve what you cannot measure. Most companies have some form of process to test a new product / services. Yet, it often proves costly and difficult to manage if not part of the company DNA.

So, plan for testing, measuring and optimizing many parts of your business. In today’s connected world, not only can a failed performance ruin a reputation, but not seeing a change in market direction can seriously limit a business’ performance.

3. Market responsiveness or ability to adapt

When you are able to identify key changes in your market, your capacity to promptly adapt your product / service or even your organization can make a serious difference to your top and bottom lines.

How fast can you hire and train the right talent? How change resistant is your organization? Should you change your organizational structure?

These are important areas you want to address in your planning to take advantage of rising opportunities in 2015.

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