OK—it’s September. Jan. 1 is not that far away. I know there’s all sorts of stuff between now and then—harvest, football games, holidays and more—but you can’t afford to lose sight of your plans for marketing in 2017. Now is the time to start formalizing your ideas. Carry a small pocket notebook for the next couple of months. Put some basic thoughts on paper that will get you thinking tactically. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin this brainstorming process:
- What does your BRANDING look like? Does it speak to who you are as a company? Better yet, are all your brand elements—logo, colors, messages—attracting the folks you want to do business with? It might be time for a brand overhaul.
- Maybe this is the year to really get into your WEBSITE? You owe it to yourself to make this a goal, not just a suggestion! Time to update and make your website a real tool for your business and your customers. Make plans for fresh, new content flowing through your site at all times. And video, too. Keep people coming back because you always have new, interesting and helpful content for them.
- What IMPORTANT DATES in the calendar year will drive some of your tactics? Think about the following events or times and what support materials you might need:
- Annual meeting—invitations, annual reports
- Special company anniversary—Do you know the founding date of your company? It may be a BIG one to celebrate in the coming year! How about a history book about the first days of your company for your members or customers?
- Dates driven by the season:
- Pre-planting workshops and new product orientations—invitations, educational materials, video presentations, product brochures, seed guides
- Pre-season outdoor signage
- Scholarships—application deadline, review and awards
- Plot tours, field days, open houses—invitations, special gifts
- Customer appreciation party—invitations, special gifts
- Harvest—policies and handbooks
- Year-end holidays—greeting card, customer loyalty gifts, calendars
- What communication plan—PRINT AND DIGITAL—will you put in place to get information to your customers? This is where you need to think about regular messages to your customers, either by a company newsletter, a quarterly magazine, email campaigns, special letters, etc. One more question here—what does your mailing list look like? Do you need to purchase a new list to attract new customers in your current or expanding trade area?
- Will you have SPECIAL PROMOTIONS throughout the year? Maybe it’s a discount for a pre-winter automobile check-up at your c-store. Or “buy your seed before Dec. 31 for valuable savings in the coming year.” Direct mail, coupled with an email campaign is always a good combo for promotions like these—plan for them!
- Are there INDUSTRY EXPENSES you need to consider and get into your overall marketing plan? These include things like professional memberships, trade shows and conferences, continuing education, product and service re-certifications for yourself and your staff. Don’t let them be a surprise in the coming year—plan ahead.
- What OTHER MEDIA would you like to try in the coming year? This is where you allow for print, radio and television advertising, billboards and miscellaneous fliers. And, yes, those print ads for sponsorships or local events that hit, especially around the holidays.
If you have not started planning, or just aren’t sure where to get started, we have expertise to help. Contact our team of agri-marketing specialists today to help you get going on the path to a successful 2017!
To get some great ideas on how to make content marketing a part of your plan take a look at our latest e-book.