Time for Change? Planning your marketing campaigns for 2013

There’s a lot to be said for the ‘If it ain’t broke, why fix it?’ approach to life. It makes for less, work, less stress and fewer possibilities for making mistakes. The problem is, it also offers fewer possibilities for making things better and achieving more – two key objectives that always sit at the heart of any successful business. As we move into the New Year, now is the time that everyone takes stock of the year we’re leaving behind and what we have to look forward to.  Whether your year has been great, awful or just nothing to write home about, there are always things that you could have done differently, mistakes you could have avoided making and lessons that you can learn. The question is: will you have the courage to challenge yourself to question the things that are ticking over nicely enough or will you simply keep the status quo?

The TV schedules will be full of ‘review of the year’ programmes over the coming couple of weeks, and looking back over what went right and what could have gone better is what all those with marketing responsibility should be doing at this time of year too.  At a time when budgets are squeezed and gaining a competitive edge is more essential than ever, a marketing plan than simply coasts, or provides ‘share of shout’, without actually saying much other than ‘we’re here’, is not really earning its keep.

It’s time to have a look at your marketing strategy over the past year: is it doing enough to differentiate you? Is it building your brand? Does it dovetail with your commercial goals? Just as importantly you also need to examine your marketing tactics: Are you making the most of your online presence with a website that looks polished and has good functionality? Have you integrated website, social media and blogs? Are you spending on advertising when you could be freeing up budget by using PR? Are your direct mail campaigns working hard enough or should you be considering direct sales?

One of the hardest realities of marketing is that it can be hard to quantify the benefits until you take the tactics out of the mix. Pulling back on marketing in a difficult commercial climate is never a good idea, but shaking things up a little to keep them fresh and leverage the best possible returns from your spend is an essential part of ensuring that marketing really adds value to your business.

Marketing is a fast-paced and innovative business function that should be characterised by finding new ways of engaging more effectively with stakeholders. As you contemplate your New Year’s resolutions and the bad habits you’re going to break this year remember this: change can be good.