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Have you got your Business Sat Nav set up and ready to go?

It’s the start of a brand new year and for many in charge of running a business, the holidays will have provided a rare opportunity to take a step back, take stock of the year and refocus. Ideas are likely to be spinning through your mind at a rate of knots with a multitude of new possibilities. Great! But now that you’re back at your desk, the daily routine has kicked in and the legacy of 2016 is clogging your inbox. So, what can you do? 

Sounds like it’s time for a plan. Marketing strategy is a phrase often bandied about by people selling creative services and business philosophies, but what does it actually mean?

Over the festivities I realised the importance of having a plan. Yes being spontaneous can often be great but – as I did during the holidays – if you roll out of bed mid-morning, have a late breakfast, then get caught up watching a Disney movie until mid-afternoon, you may find it’s a little late to head to the beach for the glorious sunshine (unless you’re lucky enough to live right by a beach of course!). If you want to walk along the frost laden sand in the morning, you have to have a plan, and stick to it.

When you set off for work this morning you’ll most likely have gone through some basic checks and procedures – if driving you may have had to de-ice the car windows, checked your gauges and decided which route you would take to your destination. If commuting by train you might have had to look online to see which – if any – of the Southern Rail trains might actually get you to work on time. Your business procedures should be no different. It helps to have the same structured preparation so that you know what you want to achieve, what it’ll take to achieve it and what amounts of time and cost you’ll need to expend to make it happen. This is the basis of your marketing strategy. 

So, does your business have a route map for 2017? If not perhaps it’s worth taking some time out to think about it and then map it out onto a calendar. Whether it’s day by day, week by week or even month by month, make a start!! Pick a marketing channel such as Social Media, see how much time you can dedicate to it, think about the messages or themes you want to talk about then map it out. How about an e-newsletter, do you know what day of the month you want your customers to receive it, what information, messages or calls to action will it contain, how long will it take you to write it, do you need to expend additional resources to implement it, such as making changes to the website?

Whatever marketing channels you choose – take time to think about them, relate them to your objective and your capacity, and map them out. The business will benefit from it and you’ll undoubtedly benefit from having clarity and structure to knowingly make progress.

(Project and Operations Manager)