Christmas is over. Tree down. Decorations packed away in the cellar. Time to crack open the fresh new notepad, write the To-Do list and get back into the normal work routine. Starting the New Year with a blog, it’s not something I have attempted before. I shy away from the big bold statements about what the new year/decade will bring or what new Marketing trends we are likely to see emerging over the next few months.
As we drew nearer to 2020 and started to think about themes for our January newsletter, the topic of clear vision seemed to stand out as significant for the coming year. It is fitting with the term 20/20 vision. For opticians, 20/20 vision is normal, uncorrected vision. A person who has 20/20 vision can see clearly on an eye chart whilst standing 20 feet away from it. No glasses or vision correction are needed. Eye charts are language driven and universal, so it is easy to categorise sight according to how a person scores on the test, and provide the corrections needed to see clearly.
When we speak of clear vision for the year ahead, we are referring to perspective rather than physical sight. Naturally our view of the world is skewed by our own interpretation of events, by experience, education, family life, fears and our assumptions of situations. These influence our decisions when planning the course for business growth in 2020. As a leader, it is often difficult to rise out of the day to day running of a business to gain perspective. There is a common English expression ‘When you can’t see the wood for the trees’, which refers to that feeling of simply being so in the thick of everything, you lose sight of what is in front of you.
There are two ways to see something more clearly. Firstly, to step back. To take time out to rest, recuperate and then return to it with fresh eyes. This happens to many of us during the Christmas holiday season. Time away from work, rest with our families, prayer and reflection, often brings new ideas and refreshes us to see new ways to identify new opportunities. Secondly, to see more clearly, we often ask the opinions of others. Friends who have the relevant experience and in whom we trust.
Last month, we were approached by three very different organisations, with requests to either build or refresh a website. In these three cases, we proposed writing a 12-month Strategic Marketing Plan before embarking on any major changes to copy or website design. This is best business practise and the planning method we use follows the model set by the Chartered Institute of Marketing. It involves taking a step back from the nuts and bolts of the sales process and current lead generation techniques.
Creating a Marketing Plan with us, allows potentially up to 11 external individuals to look at the business, each with their unique perspective and Marketing expertise. We place our feet in the shoes of the prospect, the customer and wider audience to build a successful plan for business growth. There are no short cuts. This will take time. Usually between one and two months depending on the size of the business. It will also need committed investment. If you consider the cost of hiring an experienced Marketing Manager to undertake this task, using a team of professionals billed on an hourly rate, represents great value.
To see results, we believe it is essential to take a step back and look at the whole picture before introducing any changes or creating campaign tactics. Without full vision, business owners frequently make changes only seeing things from their perspective. In our experience over the past six years in business working with small business and start-ups, without a plan, results are sporadic, and growth inhibited. Since the strapline for Your Marketing Team is ‘Marketing Services for your growing business’, we don’t see that it’s possible to produce positive results without a Strategic Marketing plan in place. Successful brand building and lead generation campaigns can only derive from solid Strategic Marketing planning. Take short cuts and the results will not meet your expectations.
If you would like some fresh eyes on your Marketing activities for the coming year, get in touch with our team. We would love to help.