The world of marketing is an ever-changing, continually-evolving landscape. Algorithms change, tactics adapt based on new information, and so the marketing practices that accompany your specific strategies must change as well. There’s very little chance that your marketing plan in 2018 looks the same as your marketing plan for 2017 — and your plan for 2019 will look different again.
Still, there are a few essential elements that you should keep in mind when developing your marketing strategy for 2019.
State Your Goals
A business without goals is like an airplane without a destination: If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you ever know that you’ve arrived? State your goals clearly for the entire team to review constantly, and then adjust your strategy throughout the year as you adapt to the conditions at hand. While this may seem simple, it’s surprising how many companies actually fail to align their sales goals with their marketing strategies. Businesses that intentionally connect the two see higher customer retention and conversion rates as a result.
Develop a Budget
Though creating a budget for marketing can sometimes come last after inventory, payroll, and a host of other expenses for your company, you’ll still need to put thought into how much you’re able to commit in order to keep up with – and ultimately pass – your competitors. Digital marketing spend, for instance, will continue to grow at a healthy rate, so make sure you’re not shorting your marketing team by refusing to allocate the necessary resources for them to deploy. Take a look back at the budgets in years past and learn what worked and what didn’t. Prop up those things that generated the best ROI, and ditch the ones that didn’t.
Consider Video and Mobile
Video is today what pictures were a few years ago. While text-only advertisements went the way of the Dodo generations ago, pictures are also being replaced by video ads on social media and video sharing websites like YouTube. They don’t have to be exceptionally long either – sometimes only 15-30 seconds is enough – but they can increase your conversion rates substantially. The same can be said for mobile-friendly devices. Though nobody visits your site simply because it’s available on their smartphones, a poor mobile experience can be enough to turn them off indefinitely.
Don’t Neglect Alternative Marketing
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a rising star in the B2B world, precisely because it allows you to track the most valuable business relationships and cultivate them for maximum return. Word-of-Mouth is another powerful form of marketing. Though not “new” in the sense that ABM is, utilizing industry leaders and influencers that can vouch for your product can still return a significant boost to your bottom line.
Embrace the Numbers
Your Business Intelligence (BI) is everything. Don’t be afraid to dive into the analytics for your various campaigns and optimize them across the board; only by continually tracking your progress can you eliminate unnecessary spending. Furthermore, artificial intelligence software such as chatbots can direct customers down your sales funnel and track your efforts more efficiently than a team of humans sometimes can.
Stick to the Fundamentals
Since the marketing landscape changes so rapidly, it’s tempting to latch onto every new technique and trick that you see. While you should always try new things, don’t forget the basics: SEO, SEM, social media, content marketing, etc. These are the backbones of any digital marketing strategy; it’s imperative that you don’t neglect them in favor of shiny new objects that everyone else seems to love.