It’s Back-to-School for Your Marketing Plan


Is it time for your marketing plan to get some new tools and techniques?

It’s that time of year when a suspicious liquid leaking out of your kid’s old lunchbox has you pitching it in the trash and placing an online order. Or when your kids’ pants from last year are suddenly hitting mid-calf. Sometimes things just need replacing or updating.

And sometimes your marketing plan needs the same treatment. Whether it’s a social media strategy that’s outdated or a website menu that no longer captures the priorities of your customers, there are a lot of reasons why it may be time to revise your marketing plan.

If you’re lucky, your marketing plan won’t require you to hold your nose while you run for the trash can. Here are a few good reasons to treat your marketing plan to a back-to-school style revision:

It Doesn’t Fit: Like those tennis shoes that suddenly seem too snug when September rolls around, your marketing plan can suddenly seem ill-fitted to your goals. There are a few reasons that can happen:

  • You’ve reached your goals, or you’ve simply decided to emphasize something new.
  • The needs of your customers have changed.
  • Your competitor is running a campaign that is a little too close to yours for comfort.

New Industry Innovations: If you’ve been running a solid campaign on your product line, but you’ve debuted something new and better, you may find that your plan needs updating.

On the flip side, a competitor may have a new product, but you’re confident that the bells and whistles don’t amount to any meaningful benefits to your customers. So, it might be the right time to trumpet why the classic version still holds court.

Whether you've added a new product line or you've decided to expand your market, it may be time to revisit your marketing plan.

You’re Not the Same: Like a middle school student who suddenly requests contact lenses, designer jeans and a spendy hairstyle, there are times when you have gone through a metamorphosis and the same old campaign just won’t do.

For instance, maybe you’ve added a whole department that you would like to showcase, or perhaps an acquisition has expanded the services you offer. Maybe you’ve decided to go beyond your product line and offer related services.

These are situations that don’t warrant a full rebranding process, but you still know that you’re missing an opportunity to show off your new aspects of your brand if you don’t revise your marketing plan a bit.

You Got Held Back: If your return on investment is not making the grade, it’s time to change things up. Marketing doesn’t have to be a study in guesswork; you should be using strategies based on data insights. If you’ve prioritized email marketing, but it turns out that your audience may be more of a social media crowd, then it may be time to adjust your strategy in an effort to improve your ROI.

You may also find that your overall strategy simply wasn’t proactive enough to make a difference. You may need to increase your investment or augment your in-house marketing team’s efforts with the help of an outside agency.

You’re Not Voted Most Popular: Your sales reps develop a personal relationship with customers, so if there’s a part of your marketing campaign that’s hitting a wrong note, you may be most likely to hear about it through your sales team.

Likewise, if your sales team reports that customers don’t seem to be at all aware of a long-running campaign or a new product line that has been in place long enough to be noticed, it simply may not be an effective angle.

Talk with your sales team about what they hear in appointments and sales calls. Listen for trends and language that pops up repeatedly. There’s a possibility that there may be a gap between what you think is important to customers and what your sales team is hearing.

You’re a Trend Setter: Sure, maybe you tight-rolled your jeans a little too long, but when it comes to marketing plans, you tend to be sort of a cool kid. Whenever you roll out a new campaign, you notice that it’s soon being imitated by competitors in your industry.

If so, that’s likely a good sign. But it does mean that you’re going to be forced to keep trying to stay ahead of the trends. You want to make it clear that your brand is the one setting the tone, and others are simply riding your coattails.

A revision to your marketing plan isn’t the equivalent of throwing out your old backpack and everything in it. It simply means scrutinizing your plan with fresh eyes and asking yourself what is working and what’s not.

If you find that it’s time for a bit of back-to-school shopping for your marketing plan, SJC has new ideas for making your brand shine. Contact us to get started on a new look for your marketing plan.