The year is almost over. For businesses and organizations, this means brainstorming new ideas for 2021. Before you jump into planning, I suggest you do a little thinking. When you THINK strategically, you ask yourself questions, and questions lead to ideas, solutions, and innovation.
Take some time to reflect on the four key questions outlined below. These questions will help you examine and critique your marketing plan while allowing new ideas and strategies to emerge.
Let's get started!
1. What worked and why?
This question assesses how well last year’s plan worked for you. Chances are your plan started as a few great ideas from the beginning of last year; now’s the time to gauge how well they did before you spend more money, time, and energy on ideas that may net the same results. Make a list of what you did, then ask yourself, "What worked?" Keep the answers simple. Then, ask why.
For example, if you circle networking, be sure to ask yourself, "Why did networking work for me/us last year?" The answer may be: "I went to the right events and made contact with the right people." Or you might write down: "I joined a networking group that offered referrals and those referrals really paid off."
2. What didn't work and why?
It’s equally important to follow up with this question, as you don't want to continue pouring time, money, and energy into something that isn't working. So, ask yourself: “What didn’t work?” Then circle those things and write down why.
You only learn when you ask questions.
3. What is my purpose for marketing in 2020? What goals do I want to accomplish to fulfill this purpose?
Your purpose may be the same for 2020, but you shouldn't assume. Things are constantly changing in our entrepreneurial era. Flexibility is key. Your purpose can change from year to year; chances are it will happen even more frequently than that.
So, ask yourself: is the purpose of my new plan the same as last year’s or do I need a new focus? What do my goals look like? Get detailed, write it down, and don't forget to include at least 2-3 goals that will help fulfill your overall purpose.
4. Am I clear on my target market or has it changed?
This is another question that people often think, "Seriously, again?" And my answer is always: YES! Always work to hone your target market. Focus on one group at a time and work on a single message that really resonates with them. Once you've done a good job targeting them, you can choose another group.
This question is even more essential if your purpose and goals are changing in 2020. Will targeting your current audience help you to achieve your goals? Do you need to choose a different target market to get your desired results? Think hard, take notes, and be crystal clear.
Once you answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to creating a fantastic marketing plan for 2020.
Do you have essential questions you ask yourself when you conduct business reviews? Did you try out my suggestions? What were the results? I'd love to hear from you!
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