Often times many business owners don’t realize what can be gained by implementing a long-term marketing strategy. To create an effective long-term plan, you’ll need to create a comprehensive picture of how your marketing expenditures will be outlaid over the coming year. Your long-term strategy should include a yearly budget expressed in dollar amounts or as a percentage of your business’s gross sales. The plan should also include a marketing calendar showing all promotions that you project for the coming year, what your objectives are for those promotions, and what anticipated changes to your budget might occur.
Developing a marketing plan and building a budget
Your marketing plan should also include marketing activities during those times when no promotions or discounts are in effect. Marketing in between discounts and promotions can be very important because you can’t have your customers simply waiting for the next promotion before making any purchases. Once you’ve created your long-term plan and have a clear picture of the coming year, with your objectives and your budget, you’ll be able to develop an overall theme.
This theme should serve as a guideline for crafting your advertising messages throughout the year, as you execute your strategic plan. As an example, if you are a small business owner involved in the fitness industry, you may want to choose a theme that revolves around all-natural products. The content that you create to support this theme could focus on how it’s much better to use all-natural products for maintaining health and fitness than it would be to adopt all kinds of exotic approaches to achieving better fitness.
Then, of course, the products that you offer would need to be in line with this general theme and should emphasize the fact that your products do the best job at achieving fitness through all-natural means. It should be fairly easy to develop consistent messaging once you have your long-term plan in place. Of course, there will be times throughout the coming year when it becomes necessary to deviate from your marketing strategy, and that’s to be expected since business can change very quickly.
Adapting to business changes
However, the key thing is to not be taken aback by change but to adapt to it and react appropriately to it when it does happen. Whenever the trends of the business force you to modify your long-term plan, you will always be better off if you can adapt to those changes so that you can stay on track for the year. It will be very important that you react appropriately to these business changes because it’s entirely possible that quick reactions can lead to mistakes that cause poor customer experience, a waste of marketing budget, and ultimately a reduction of your total incoming revenue.
For that reason, your long-term marketing strategy should include responses to potential business changes you anticipate throughout the year. Of course, not all changes can be anticipated, so you’ll have to rely on the expertise of yourself and your employees to make appropriate responses when changes do come. While it may be difficult to alter an entire marketing campaign, any changes that happen are usually not that drastic, and might only necessitate some tweaks to your campaigns.
Benefits of a long-term marketing strategy
When you have an effective long-term strategy in place, you’ll realize several benefits. As opposed to considering an agency to help develop your plan, when you formulate your own long-term strategy, it will almost always be more effective because all your business insights will be poured into it. Simply going through the exercise of developing a long-term plan will allow you to see the future of your business from a different perspective and on a different level.
You’ll be able to create accurate projections for cash flow, business growth, and if necessary, hiring more employees. This will all be possible because you’ll have a better understanding of the results you expect from your long-term strategy. Another benefit you gain from having a long-term plan is that you’ll be better able to manage any crises that occur throughout the year. Having a plan in place will prepare you better for potential changes and if a crisis should occur, you’ll have a better chance of reacting appropriately to it. It will be essential for you to manage your business through the crisis, and you’ll have a better chance to do this if you have a solid business plan in place already.
You’ll also benefit from being able to collect a great deal of invaluable data from your business plan. This data can be used to fuel future decision-making and improve your long-term plan for next year. When you have a full year of advertising data to draw information from, you’ll be much better off than you would be if all you had were short-term campaigns and advertising, and the data supplied by them.
Lastly, one of the biggest benefits of having a long-term strategy in place is that it should function to increase local brand awareness in your area. When all you’re doing is issuing one-off promotion advertising blitzes, you might get some benefit from them, but it won’t keep your brand name before the public for long. If you can keep your business at the forefront of customers’ minds for an entire year, this will lend a great deal of recognition to your brand and all that you bring to the table.