Keep your marketing fresh in the New Year

With the New Year approaching, many companies will soon begin their “New Year, new _____” promotions. While that is totally season-appropriate marketing, maybe it’s time to deliver the same message internally. Start-ups have the benefit of having a clean slate with regard to their brand’s identity, values and approach to marketing. Seasoned businesses, which often have seasoned members of the company and decision-making positions, don’t have that benefit. For those businesses, the threat of growing stale or stagnant with regard to their marketing grows larger with each passing day.

Has your business been around for a while? What are you doing to keep things fresh? I drew several parallels between marketing and dating and this is one that I neglected to mention. Just like you have to keep your relationships fresh in order to prevent them from dulling out, you have keep your marketing/engagement with your consumers fresh as well. While the identity and essence of your brand should essentially remain the same, if fresh ideologies don’t present themselves, it’s very possible that your company’s marketing will start to speak to only the people in your company. Here are some suggestions for ways to keep your company’s marketing fresh.

Bring in new talent
I agree with promoting from within and rewarding those who have stuck with your company and performed well; however, it is important to have a team with a diverse background so that you can get a wide variety of ideas and concepts. Look at JC Penny. The department store retailer brought in an Apple exec to take over the reigns as CEO. The company soon after instituted the ‘shops’ concept , which is modeled after the worldwide electronic and software corporation, Apple. The new concept brought in by a person from a completely different retail background has proved to be innovative and successful for the department store, and even competitors, like Macy’s are taking note.

Get external trend and market reports
If you have a larger company, I’m sure you already have a person or team in place to do research on trends, consumer behavior, etc; however, who’s to say that your internal research personnel isn’t relying on the same data, day after day, month after month, and year after year. Consulting with an outside agency could allow your business to tap into new resources from which to assess and plan your marketing strategy.

Get feedback on your marketing materials
Whether you gather your own focus groups or call on the marketing and advertising departments of universities, get your ads and campaigns in front of people to see what they think about them. Do they find them boring? Do they leave a lasting impression? This type of feedback can be helpful information to help you move forward in a positive direction. You could also consider emailing your consumers a survey with incentive, say, maybe 10% their next purchase. The survey could ask questions that gather information about the best place and approach to presenting your marketing efforts.

What do you do to make sure you keep your marketing fresh? Do you agree with my suggestions above? Do you have any of your own? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Is your marketing season-appropriate?

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Autumn is just around the corner and companies are gearing up to implement their fall strategy – but what does that strategy entail? It shouldn’t be just a switch to warmer color tones. I think most larger companies get how to adjust their strategy from season to season, but it may be something that startups and smaller companies don’t realize the importance of.

Changing your strategy from season to season means changing your messaging. Consumers’ way of thinking change from season to season, and that is completely understandable since we as people are presented with different issues and concerns from month to month. And that’s what you and your brand or product is here for – to solve a problem for the consumer.

When planning your strategy for fall months (or any season, since your fall plan should’ve been done at the beginning of summer), ask yourself, “How is John Smith’s behavior going to change during the fall from what it was during the summer?” A big part of catering to your target audience is anticipating their needs, factors that may change those needs and what their needs will become. Once you understand this, you’ll have a better understanding of what it is that you should be saying to your audience.

Use your new understanding of your consumers’ needs in the new season to drive your marketing strategy (which includes content, social media, PR, advertising, etc. etc). Figure out how you can clearly and effectively communicate the benefits that your product or service offers during that particular timeframe, without straying from the brand’s identity. This type of season-relevant, benefit-driven messaging strategy paired with tasteful, season-driven graphic and merchandising updates should help prepare your brand for a successful season.

How does your marketing change from season to season?

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