When was the last time you had a physical checkup? We usually have an annual physical checkup even when we know we're fine, and yet it's always good to make sure. So why is it that when it comes to our marketing plan checkup it mostly happens when our business is not performing as we'd like? Even when it comes to large corporates, due to the overwhelming marketing deadlines, most marketing plans are tied to the annual budget plan not necessarily as a separate reassessment plan. We need a budget, we have no time, let's submit a marketing plan that will justify a budget we can work with.
Change and volatility are here to stay
Recent years have demonstrated that volatility and change are a new reality. Whether it was COVID-19 that sent 90% of businesses to develop their online strategies and options, giving birth to new technologies, or the recession we're facing today, the bank crisis in the USA and Switzerland, the Ukraine war which greatly affected the gas, oil, sugar, wheat, and maize markets, the monetization of data to name a few, all these impacts our business and reality. Ignoring these global forces will ultimately lead our business to be irrelevant.
Furthermore, not only do we need to constantly adapt to change and work within a volatile environment, the frequency of change has dramatically increased. It seems as if we're moving from one crisis to the other which requires constant adaptation. It seems that we're so busy with adapting to change and surviving it, that we forget to reassess what is really needed and whether the quick turnarounds we produced are right for us in the long run.
The long Run?
With the high frequency of global, economic, and market crises, what is the long run? Not too long ago marketing plans had a gradual short-term plan which was usually 6 months, 12 months and leading to a 5-year and 10-year plan. Nowadays, a 5 years marketing plan is irrelevant. Since there is no longer a long run, a regular marketing check-up is a must. I would say at the end of every quarter.
Having a marketing checkup at the end of every quarter enables a marketing evolution vs. a marketing revolution. Evolving gradually, small steps enable us to attain results and success while developing the business vs. a marketing revolution that requires full resources and attention often at the expense of business continuance.
Assessing Our Customers
· Do our customers struggle with the same challenges?
· Do they struggle with new challenges?
· Can we address these challenges?
· Have you noticed any changes in customer behavior?
· Have your customer's preferences changed?
· Any new customer needs that have arisen in the last quarter?
· Which of our customers are high-valued customers (require fewer resources and thus higher revenues) and which are low-valued customers (require a lot of resources and not much revenue)
· Customer retention up or down? Why?
Assessing our Market Segments
· Are our market segments still accurate for us?
· Has the market created new market segments for us to tap into?
· Did the economy shift our market segment positioning?
· New crisis often leads to new markets? Any new alternatives and opportunities?
· Any sub-segments?
Assessing our Marketing Messages
· Do our marketing messages still relevant within the volatile environment?
· Do we need to refresh our messages?
· Do we need new messages that tap into new market segments?
· Are our messages aligned with the market?
· Is our website updated with all the relevant messages?
· Does it still cater to our market segments in a relevant manner?
· Is our website optimized for mobile?
· Do we keep track of Google Analytics data? Any new insights?
· Do our customers expect an App? Do our competitors have an App?
Market Share & Presence
· Has our market share shifted due to new market segmentation?
· Has it increased or decreased and if so why?
· Where is our market presence? National, Regional, Segment-wise?
· Are your vendor's prices competitive?
· If not, it's time to renegotiate or refresh?
· Is the service still top notch or does the vendor take you for granted?
· Any new players with newer innovations?
· Do you really need all your vendors?
· Any new players in the market?
· Any new solutions offered by your competitors?
· How can you differentiate yourself?
· Can you create new strengths?
The above questions are just a way to jumpstart your quarterly marketing healthcare checkup. There is definitely more room for a deeper dive, but let's keep that for our annual marketing checkup. It's better to conduct a regular, consistent, hands-on, short checkup that will be implemented rather than dive into a full process that cannot be attained on a regular basis. Let's start with the above checklist and take it from there.