Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. That’s what they say, right?

There are huge benefits to planning your strategic marketing well in advance, as well as having an overarching annual strategy which gives your brand direction and drives your campaigns.

Planning your brand’s marketing campaigns and setting out your overall strategy makes the implementation of different initiatives really straight-forward, as well as ensuring you’re one step ahead of the competition. Establishing relationships with potential customers can take time, so determining your marketing activities well in advance is imperative if you want to achieve smarter and sharper campaigns which bring in results.

A marketing strategy covers your overall purpose and shapes any marketing tactics put in place. It should be formed by your brand’s voice and goals, which you can then use to measure your success by the achievement of those goals. When launching a new business, product or service, it’s critical that you have more than just a marketing plan, you need a strategy – you can’t effectively have one without the other.

We get so many questions about strategic marketing planning from brands of all shapes and sizes. Here’s some tips from the team at The Creative Alchemist to help you get ahead of the game and start planning your 2017 marketing strategy…

>Define your brand

What’s your offer? What are your key benefits and features? What makes you different? This bit can be tough and time-consuming as it often requires some business soul searching, but once complete you will reap the benefits of this clarity. Start defining your brand and planning your strategy around this as early as possible to maximise the potential to reach your customers – think about what you want to achieve, and how you can get there.

>Define your core customer

Construct an avatar of them – illustrating who they are, where they live, what they like to do etc. If you know who your core customer is you can go about finding them with ease.

>Be creative with your marketing

Work with an experienced designer to create a visual identity that is clear and distinctive for your campaigns. If you’ve no experience and you design your own materials in Word, it’s likely this isn’t going to cut it against your competition. Now is the perfect time to refresh your marketing materials and design new ones to help bring in new customers.

>Prepare your social media strategy

Throughout the year audience engagement can be up and down. Plan your social strategy around key dates in the calendar well ahead of time. You can even use a scheduling tool to do so, but try not to rely too much on this – social media should always have a personable feel to it and you need to be able to respond in person to questions and enquiries.

>Consider event planning

Events are a great way to gather your customers, both new and existing. Figure out the exact purpose of your event, and plan it backward detailing every action which needs completing up until the day.

>Focus on customer emotions

For many people, national holidays including Easter and Christmas are emotional times of the year as they start to think about the season and all the preparation that goes into it. This emotional connection with your customers is a powerful tool and as a brand, you can capitalise on this by offering a creative solution to a problem around these times.

For more information on planning your 2017 marketing strategy, get in touch with The Creative Alchemist today.