Happy New Year! What are your marketing resolutions? The beginning of a new year is always a good time to reflect on the results of last year’s marketing plan and to consider what changes you want to make for the coming year. The key word is “plan.” Think of it like GPS directions for your marketing. When you need to get somewhere, GPS knows where you are but you have to tell it where you want to go and then it gives you options on how to get there.
Know your final destination
I am willing to bet that when it comes to a marketing plan a lot of people don’t start with the final destination, where they want to be by December, in mind. Instead they start heading off “down the road” – destination to be determined.
I spent the weekend of Dec. 5-7, 2014, at “Frequent Traveler University” in Washington, D.C. It is a convention for people who not only like to travel but like learning about how miles and points can enhance their travel experience. It was perfect timing because all my travel and loyalty program calculators reset to zero at the end of the year (just the calculators, not the accumulated points or miles). This is important because in order for me to achieve my travel-related goals for 2015 and beyond, I need to know by the end of the year how to structure the plan.
For example, if my goal is to acquire a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass in 2015 so that I can bring a companion along for free in 2015 and 2016, then I need to determine what strategy I will use to acquire the 110,000 Rapid Rewards points I need to receive the pass. The final destination is 110,000 points.
Know your starting point
I know what I am starting with in January. That would be zero points, remember, since the calculators reset on Jan. 1. You might think that there is only one route to get there – not true. Route 1 equals flying. Route 2 equals a mixture of flying and buying things through the Southwest Airlines online shopping portal. Route 3 equals getting a Southwest credit card that will give me 50,000 points after I spend a certain amount in a certain time frame, plus flying, plus shopping. Those are just three examples but there are a plethora of routes. Some that will take me all year to get there. Some that will take me a matter of months. Some that will be cost prohibitive and some that will be relatively inexpensive. The two things that I know for sure are where I am right now and where I want to go. What I also know is that I would really like that pass sooner rather than later and that I don’t want to waste money or time getting it.
Know your route options
For example, you know that you have 27 newsletter subscribers as of today but that you want 2,499 subscribers by the end of the year which route are you going to take? Just like getting the Companion Pass, there are a lot of different routes with different time frames and different costs. I have clear goals. Get the points to get the pass so that my companion can fly for free, so I can save a lot of money. I know most of my travel schedule for 2015 right now so I can actually calculate how much money I will be able to save depending on when I acquire the pass. That is very helpful in determining my “route.”
In our newsletter subscriber example, we have a clear goal of acquiring 2,472 new subscribers. We want to make sure that all of our new subscribers are people who are relevant to the success of our business and not just route “detours” for the sake of pumping up the numbers. What is in your marketing GPS for 2015?
Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.