With 2018 fast approaching, it is essential for all businesses to establish a clear and structured marketing strategy for the year ahead. As experts in promotional management and fulfilment, we have prepared a list of key points that you should consider when preparing your 2018 marketing calendar.
1. Forecast Sales Volumes
Predict sales volumes by reviewing current and previous years’ figures. Reference previous stats to identify sales trends; this will highlight those months when sales are highest and, likewise, those periods that experience slower sales. This allows you to plan the necessary promotional campaigns that will help to extend the busy period and boost sales during the quieter seasons.
2. Consider Seasonal Sales
When planning your 2018 campaigns, it is worth factoring in the following:
- Seasonal trends
- Planned product launches (if you have such)
- Planned company events
- Industry events
- Any other events relevant to your brand or industry
3. Research 2018 World Trends
Conducting research on 2018 industry trends can provide your business with valuable insight and assist you with planning future campaign activities. New trends will provide guidance on when, where and how to advertise your products or services, the channels your target audience is using and those channels that are now outdated.
A detailed PESTEL analysis can provide you with information on consumer trends, allowing you to make more strategic decisions on those products or services that you should focus on advertising.
4. Effective Media Planning & Budgeting
In order to create a clear and accurate marketing calendar, you need to conduct the following:
- Set your monthly, quarterly and annual goals
- Set your budgets based on your goals
- Select the best performing mediums to advertise your products based on the research you’ve already prepared
- Incorporate a variety of promotional campaigns in your plan to encourage sales, i.e. cashback, gift with purchase, sweepstakes/instant win, loyalty rewards.
To expand your reach and increase audience engagement, consider promoting your campaigns using different mediums, such as social media networks, email campaigns, SMS notifications and AdWords advertising. Unlike offline advertising, online ads support performance reporting, which allows you to track all campaigns in one place and measure the success per channel.
Here are some examples of online growth-hacking techniques adopted by different industry leaders:
- Avon advertises discounts for selected products ordered online only. Even though it is one of the most successful direct sales brands, Avon encourages end customers to purchase via their online stores by promoting discounts on selected online products only.
- Sony increased product awareness using an interactive game. In 2008 Sony worked with Richmond, VA-based PowerPact, to create an interactive game and related sweepstakes that used the broad appeal of James Bond and a million-dollar prize to lure users into learning more about Sony Electronics products.
- DropBox got 4 million users in 15 months thanks to their refer-a-friend program. By encouraging existing users to refer a friend, Dropbox user volumes increased from 100,000 to 4,000,000 in 15 months. Each successful referee was rewarded with 16GB of free space.
Factoring in each of the above points will allow you to fine-tune your marketing strategy and steer you in the right direction to achieving higher sales in 2018.