Pitfalls to Avoid in Your 2019 Marketing Plan

With the New Year approaching, many companies will be focusing on their marketing efforts for 2019.

The New Year brings new opportunities to have a positive impact with your customers, employees and your product offerings, which helps your resolutions become realities.

However, the practice of developing your marketing plan for 2019 brings with it the inevitable question: How much are you going to spend?

Many people view their marketing as a cost center. When things get tight, usually, marketing is the first place where the reigns get tightened and budgets are cut.

Think about that. The one place, whose only responsibility is to drive awareness and interest from you customers in order to help your business grow, is the first place budgets are cut back to limit its impact.

A bit counter intuitive, no?

The thing about marketing is that it’s only an expense to your company if you cannot accurately measure its success in converting the efforts into revenue for your company.

While many of our clients look to us to tell them what they should be doing to grow their business, we first take a look and tell them what they need to stop doing so they understand the bigger picture and what is they need to improve upon.

So, even though every company or person reading this is article is not a client of ours, consider this a special holiday gift from 898 Marketing.

To help you build a successful marketing strategy in 2019, here are the top three marketing missteps that you should avoid and are most likely costing your company money.

Focus on the Why, Not the What

One of the biggest oversights companies make when they look at their plans for the New Year is to focus on what they do or make rather than focus on why a customer should consider them as an option. Instead of focusing on how great what your doing is, talk about how you can solve a customer’s problem or make their life better. Customers care about how you can help them.

For the past year, one of my clients, Burgan Real Estate, has been focusing its messaging on how the agency makes its customers and the Mahoning Valley community better with its involvement. Sure, Burgan sells homes, but so do several other businesses.

But Burgan does it with a process and tools that not only sell homes faster and for more money than any other brokerage in the Mahoning Valley, but also by focusing on growing the careers of real estate agents.

And Burgan works to strengthen the community through the agency’s involvement in bringing companies and individuals together to make a difference.

This approach has helped Burgan achieve the best year in volume in the history of the 41-year old company.

So when you start talking about your marketing for next year, can you describe how you actually help improve your customers? Can you offer something that no one else can? More importantly, how much will it cost them by not seeking your help?

Asking these questions will help you solve problems for your customers because there is no greater way to increase the results of your 2019 marketing efforts than by leading with a message that speaks to how you can help grow your customer’s business better than they can on their own.

Don’t Make It Complicated

Buzzwords should buzz off. Using technical terms or business jargon in your marketing efforts does not make you look smart; it makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

In some businesses, the buying process and offers or incentives being used to orchestrate the deal is difficult enough. Great marketers and companies make the complicated things simple. If you can’t describe yourself in simple terms your customers will understand, than you don’t know yourself or your own products well enough to sell them.

Take Greenwood Chevrolet in Austintown, another 898 client. In an industry where price drives a majority of the decision making for a new or used car purchase, this dealership knows the company and its products well enough that it has simplified the buying process for its customers into one succinct message: Greenwood Chevrolet goes the extra mile.

This idea has taken on a life of its own through a dedicated social media campaign. By showcasing Greenwood team members in short videos and having them be in the spotlight to talk about how they go the “extra mile” to make the experiences for their customers enjoyable, they have simplified the process of buying a car by allowing people to get to know their team, even before they even consider a new or used car. These stories showcase that, while price is a factor in a purchase of this size, an even greater concern is making sure customers are comfortable with the people who are helping them make this life changing decision.

Your customers are more focused on finding answers, not more questions. The goal of any marketing campaign should be to make sure they are easy to understand so that the complexity and uncertain about what they are going to experience is nonexistent.

Let Data Guide Your Decisions

Notice I said, guide your decisions, not make them for you. It amazes me how many companies and business people make changes to their marketing strategy or branding efforts because a friend told them to or they just felt like it, rather than because they properly measured if they should or not.

Marketers are responsible for managing risk. We take the data and information available to us, look at the direction the company would like to go and set the course to minimize your risk of losing customers or not acquiring new ones.

Being able to make data-driven decisions is the only way to confidently improve your business and the success of your marketing efforts. If you do not stop to see how things are performing or how the campaign is doing, you are better off not even investing in your marketing.

For this summer’s record setting concert, Y-Live, JAC Live monitored weekly and monthly data streams to show how sales were trending, where purchases were coming from and how to forecast overall turnout for the event. This ultimately helped them evaluate how much more marketing needed to be done in order to pack over 20,000 people into Stambaugh Stadium for the history-making concert.

You don’t need a white coat or pocket protector to make changes based on or to understand data. What you do need is the appreciation that to make a positive impact with your marketing strategy in 2019, you need to pay attention to what it is telling you in order to make changes that will yield the highest possible return for your company’s investment.

No one knows what 2019 holds for any of us. However, by not falling victim to these three marketing mistakes as you develop your plan for the New Year will help ensure you are in the best position possible to have the most profitable marketing campaigns for your business.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.