I feel it only appropriate that I start this blog with the traditional ‘Happy New Year’ greeting, it certainly doesn’t seem like three weeks since I was last sat at my trusty laptop, tapping away merrily to produce the final blog installment of 2013.  But there is absolutely no doubt that a new year is upon us and that businesses up and down the country are employing new tactics to make this year’s marketing better than last year.

So what can and should you do to guarantee that you start off on the right foot and etch out a clear path to follow over the next twelve months?

Here are our top tips to keep you on course for a successful year:

The end of a year and the beginning of a new one is a natural restart point and a great opportunity to give everything a refresh and a reboot after the hecticness of Christmas, so firstly…

1)  Change your calendar… This is very important and a simple one to get you in the mindset of a clean, fresh start.

Now you should employ some early Spring cleaning tactics and…

2)  Have a clean out. It is more than likely that you have been putting this task off for a while but dig through those cobweb riddled files and get rid of anything that is old, obsolete or ineffective.  Only keep what you can use or learn from moving forward.

Okay, so were onto the next step and I promise this one is not contradictory…

3)  You need to look back in order to look forward.  Review what went right and wrong in 2013, and what were successes and what didn’t quite work.  Don’t be frightened to admit failure, and I use the term ‘failure’ extremely loosely here,  but instead learn from it and decide how to improve or what to do differently! Re-inventing the wheel is not always necessary, sometimes a spot of gentle spoke oiling is all you need.

So the next logical step would be to look at…

4) What is going to be big in 2014 and ask yourself “Are you ready to embrace the impending cultural shifts and trends?”  For example is your website mobile and tablet ready? Have you got a productive website? Are you able to take orders by the method of your customers’ choosing? Are you embracing social media?  All these are things that like it or not, you will have to embrace in 2014.

And of course natural progression now dictates you should…

5)    Make a marketing plan for the year

  •  What are your objectives for the year? Turnover, sales, new customers, number of leads, SEO targets?  So on and so forth.
  • How are you going to achieve them? Perhaps this means deciding which media or channels you are going to use, e.g. online, advertising and/or social media; newspapers, magazines and/or flyers.

  • Then when are you going to run this activity?  Do you spread it evenly throughout the year or concentrate more on key seasonal peaks for your product?

If you base the content of your marketing plan on the  ‘What, When, How & Why’ mantra you should be on the right track but don’t worry, Début Marketing can help with this.

So, plan done and dusted, the next major thing you need to do is…

6)   Set budgets.  This seems to be a boring task for so many but you need to know what your targets are and therefore what to aim for.  Make realistic budgets but don’t go mad, if you set your spend too low then you will feel like you are constantly overspending, and if you set it too high then there is the temptation to spend what you have allocated.  You should aim to split your budget throughout the year to coincide with sales.

Now you can do something a little less stressful and…

7)  Meet all your suppliers.  This will allow you to outline your aims for the year and ask how they can help you achieve them.  Plus a posh lunch never goes amiss!

 So finally all the groundwork is done and it is time for, yes you guessed it…

8) A good old fashioned review

Doing this regularly will help to keep you within the constraints of your budget and plan.  If you are unsure of the most effective way to review your progress then Début Marketing can help with that too.

These tips really are helpful for business of all types and sizes. Give them a bash as next week I will go back to tip four and talk about what’s hot and what’s not.

New Year, New Start

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