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Four Considerations for Your 2016 Marketing Plan

It’s the time of year when most organizations are in the midst of planning. By knowing what you need to include in your marketing plan, you’ll be a step ahead – and you’ll be able to budget appropriately for things which weren’t part of your marketing mix a few years ago. (Hint: it’s not just about the marketing channels you’re choosing – it’s the resources you’ll need to invest in those channels to make them succeed). Set goals

Content Marketing

We work with many of our digital clients on generating fresh, shareable content. This requires great care on our part as well as theirs, because solid content isn’t about the creator – it’s about the audience. It’s a matter of thoughtfully reviewing the interactions your audience has with your assets (social media, website, other collateral) to determine what is of interest to them and what will build trust. We’ve come a long way from the days of titles, descriptions, and all the keywords: Now content can drive traffic to your site. But even more than that, good content can increase the level of trust in your company – 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. The mere act of generating a series of articles is not going to drive trust in your company. Understanding what your audience wants, and giving it to them, will.

Personal Interactions

I love when I go through the Dunkin’ drive-thru and the cashier lets me know I’m not just another Styrofoam cup going out the window. The same thing goes with your digital audience – the more you can learn about them, and the better you can be at serving up appropriate content, the better their experience. How can you figure out what your audience likes?
  • Measure their engagement. Likes, shares, comments, tags, opens, clicks, you name it – they’re all a good way to see what your audience likes.
  • Track behavior. Learn about them – where they spend their time (and don’t), how they’re finding you, and what they’re doing. This information will provide clues to what they really want.
  • Test them. A good old-fashioned A/B test is a great way to learn what’s driving your audience. Price? Content? Shiny objects? Your audience’s behavior will tell you what is more appealing to them.

Changing the Channel

If your company has been using the same marketing channels for longer than a couple of years – it’s time to think about mixing things up. More often than not, diminishing returns can result from a stale marketing plan. Your tried and true marketing channels from years past are seeing smaller audiences without significant decreases in cost, and sometimes it’s just easier to keep doing what you’ve always done. Before you get into the New Year – like, now – make sure you do a thorough review of what you’re doing to ensure it is driving ROI. Believe it or not, there are some people who continue to pay for ads in phone books because it’s what they’ve always done. Don’t let this happen to you. Social Table

The Mobile User

I know, I know, it sounds too simple. But if you have a website that’s more than a couple years old, chances are you didn’t factor in changes in user behavior. Even in 2014, total activity on smartphones and tablets accounted for an astounding 60 percent of digital media time spent in the U.S. There are some cases where we see client websites receiving the direct majority of their traffic from desktop visits, but more often than not web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. This means that a user’s experience needs to be optimized for mobile. If you know your audience is going to be visiting the site using a mobile device, simplify their experience. And if you’re driving them to the site via ads, make sure you’re able to quantify their visit. Audience behaviors should be driving changes in your marketing plan, not the other way around. By learning more about your audience and their habits, and personalizing their experience to their habits, you’ll be on the path to improved ROI and better lead generation.    
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