By Dave Tan, VP, Content Solutions
It is November 2009, which normally means that it should be cold here in Chicago, but we are having fantastically warm weather. Things are upside down here for sure, and we all should look at 2010 marketing planning that way as well. Right now many different companies are heads down in strategic planning for 2010. Certainly we see many going through this important exercise with many different variations. However, there are clear marketing strategic pillars to account for each year.
- Historical - What marketing platforms performed well in 2009?
- Goals - What are the 2010 overarching goals?
- Consumers/Customers - Are there any changes to the prospective targets or customers? Are there changes to where they spend their time? Are there different platforms?
Another core area of digital investment is search engine optimization (SEO) budgets. We see consumer search behavior changing constantly, and therefore companies need to evolve their content offerings to align with consumers. I do know that throughout 2009, I have heard many companies say that their new website has been built with SEO in mind, so they don’t need any help. That fact could be true, but it does not take into account a few other areas. The search engine algorithms are constantly being tweaked. Consumer search behavior change all the time, and new content platforms come into play. Extensive consumer and content research can uncover great areas for growth and optimization and often times this research gets overlooked. In terms of keeping up with the platforms, Twitter updates/feeds are integrated into search results now, and I am sure many companies are not optimized for that. Beyond investing in new content, be sure to invest in optimizing your website so that you can continue to attract the consumers you want.
Now take into account changing consumer behavior. As fellow Resolution Media team member Dave Levy cited recently, FaceBook accounts for almost 25% of all page views here in the US. Are your consumers there? They probably are. How can you be sure? By taking time to conduct deep digital consumer research and seeing exactly where your consumers are spending time and interacting with your brand. If it is Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, Linkedin, or Ning, companies need to have a good idea where their target consumers are. If the target consumers are there, then invest in staffing up in your customer service/customer contact departments. Another area to break with past marketing tactics is to look at mobile and the mobile audiences. Depending on whom you listen to in the industry, mobile marketing is here or not. However, my viewpoint is that mobile marketing is here and growing. Just look at your own mobile behaviors and you can tell that mobile is here.
Beyond many of those investments, it is also prudent to allocate a small percentage of the marketing budget for testing. Testing new platforms in the beginning can pay off; as you can learn quickly need to be tested. It is an easy way to begin planning for two to three years down the line. Many of you have seen my thoughts on Consumers, but it really does start with their actions and behaviors to build a plan around. Use these thoughts and others as fodder as marketing planning goes on over the next few months, and best of success to you in your digital marketing planning.