105 Point Checklist to Get 2013 Marketing On Track

The Only 2013 Marketing Guide You Need to Succeed

105 Point Checklist for 2013 - Heidi Cohen's Actionable Marketing BlogWant your 2013 marketing to succeed? Of course you do! (Who doesn’t?) Then follow this 2013 Marketing Guide written in plain English and broken into 105 easy-to-follow steps.

To get your 2013 marketing on track regardless of whether you work for a B2C, B2B, not-for-profit or you’re a solopreneur, this 105 point checklist is a must-have business tool. It’s useful for specialized marketers including social media, content marketing and mobile.

Review 2012 effectiveness

  1. How did your organization perform in 2012 ? How did this compare to  2011?
  2. How did your organization perform versus your 2012 budget or plans?
  3. Where there any special events or surprises that effected your business in 2012 such as the Presidential Election or Hurricane Sandy? If so, what were they? Were they unique to your business or did they have an impact on your category or location as a whole?
  4. Did any promotions do exceptionally well or poorly? If so, what can you change?
  5. What can you do to be better prepared for 2013 and beyond?

Understand your target market

  1. Do you have marketing personas for each target segment? Here’s twelve steps to create a marketing persona.
  2. Did your customer base change during 2012? Beyond the numbers, what’s happening with your target market? If your market hasn’t changed, it may signal that it’s slowing down. If so, do you need other sources of customers?
  3. Do you have channels in place to listen to prospects, customers and the public? If so, what are they saying to you and about you? If not, do you have plans to create customer listening posts and monitor them in 2013?
  4. Assess what your prospects and customers want from your organization in 2013? Are you able to meet these needs?
  5. Which media formats and platforms do your prospects and customers use  regularly? Are they included in your firm’s advertising and other outreach? (Here’s data on how we consume content.)
  6. How do you plan to recognize your best customers in 2013?
  7. How do you plan to handle  your worst performing customers who are no longer profitable to service? Are you planning to unmarket them?
  8. How do you show your respect for your customers, community and the public?

Survey the competitive landscape

  1. What are the major economic and political trends for 2013? What impact will they have on your business?  Here are our 2013 marketing predictions and the extreme marketing predictions of 19 experts.
  2. What are the experts in your category predicting will happen in 2013? Do you agree with their forecasts? How do they relate to your plans?
  3. How are you doing relative to your niche and major category competitors? Here are seven competitors every business has.
  4. Are any of the major players hinting they have a change in the works? Examine firms like Google, Apple, Walmart, Amazon and Facebook.
  5. Did any of your peers change any of their business practices or make any financial deals in 2012? If so, how should you adjust or change your plans?
  6. Are new competitors emerging? Remember competition may come from organizations that don’t directly compete with you but have game changing products or technology.

Establish your organization’s 2013 vision

  1. What are your business’ overall goals for 2013? How does this relate to your business objective? (Here’s the skinny on the basics of business goals.)
  2. Does your organization’s focus require modification based on 2012 results and 2013 objectives?
  3. Is your firm organized to achieve your 2013 goals? If not, how will you change to accomplish them?
  4. Have there been any changes in terms of your suppliers? What does this mean for 2013?
  5. Have there been any changes among your distributors? What are the implications for your 2013 plans?
  6. What is your company’s three-year plan? Has it been revised based on what happened in 2012 and your current plans for 2013?

Adjust your product offering to meet 2013 customer needs

  1. Do changes in your target audience and/or current customers’ needs require changes in your offering? Here’s twenty-five points related to offer across the 4Ps.
  2. What new and emerging technologies are on the horizon that will affect your 2013 product offering?
  3. Do you have any product gaps based on the 2012 market and/or technology changes?
  4. Are you planning to change your products in 2013? What products will you stop selling? What new products do you plan to offer?

Expand your 360° brand

  1. How will you continue to enhance your 360° brand in 2013? (BTW—here’s how to create a brand on a budget.)
  2. Does your brand seamlessly move across different media and content formats such as text, images, video and audio?
  3. Does your brand need to be modified or repositioned due the events of 2012?
  4. Does your brand need to be adapted to meet your organization’s changing needs for 2013?
  5. How will you change your brand to meet the needs of new media options and devices?

Plan promotions for 2013

  1. Have you developed  your 2013 promotional calendar? Include at least one promotion per month and consider all aspects of an offer.
  2. Have you incorporated  product related events and special, little known holidays? Use Google to find quirky celebrations related to your business.
  3. Did you observe your firm’s birthday/anniversary in 2012? Is there a related promotion planned for 2013? Is it a milestone year?
  4. Do you celebrate your customers’ birthdays and/or their anniversary of dealing with your firm?
  5. Do you have value promotions planned for 2013? Have you changed the deal?
  6. Do you have a series of communications based on customer interaction?
  7. Do you have special promotions for your best customers?
  8. Do you have a different set of promotions for your second tier customers, those customers you want to become your top-tier customers.

Expand your 2013 social media presence

  1. Do you monitor what your target audience and the public are saying about your organization, products and thought leaders, on the relevant social media platforms? If not, establish a plan to do so.
  2. Do you have a set of social media guidelines? It should outline what employees can and can’t do when they represent your organization?
  3. Do you understand your target audience’s social media persona?
  4. Do you have a social media marketing strategy planned for 2013 that’s integrated into your overall marketing? Here’s a seven step social media plan to get you on track.
  5. Does your plan include a blogging strategy? It is a critical element of your social media and your content marketing. (BTW—I’m teaching a class on this topic at Social Media Examiner’s Content Success Summit—Please join me.) Here’s how to get your blog on track for 2013.
  6. What’s your video strategy? Does it include YouTube, the number two social media site?
  7. What are your plans for using Facebook? Understand that even B2B firms use Facebook, especially outside of the US. (To help you, here are 9 Surefire Facebook Tips.)
  8. What are your plans for Twitter?  It is more than an outbound broadcast channel? (Here are 15 Steps to Build Your Twitter Following.)
  9. What are your plans for using Google+? (Here’s what you need to know about Google+.)
  10. What are your plans for using Pinterest? This is particularly important if your product offering is visual or you target women. (Here are  19 Reasons to Add Pinterest to Your Social Media Strategy.)
  11. Do your social media efforts need additional marketing? If so, is it incorporated into your overall marketing plans?
  12. Is there headcount/employees whose job it is to monitor, support and engage on social media? If not, are you planning to create these positions or integrate these functions into the appropriate jobs?
  13. Have you included budget for your social media interaction?
  14. Do you use social media marketing metrics to assess  your progress including your social media ROI?

Increase your 2013 content marketing effectiveness

  1. Where does your organization need content marketing? Here are 26 Content Marketing options (chart included).
  2. Do you create special content to support your social media efforts?
  3. Do you provide quality content to support every step of the purchase process?
  4. Does your content marketing support advocates/fans?
  5. Are your senior management’s communications supported by your content marketing? If not, how is it perceived by the public?
  6. Does your firm or organization need to supply investor-relations related content? If so, is it incorporated into your content marketing?
  7. Do you have an editorial calendar for 2013? Of course, you can always take the Cliff Notes Approach to Editorial Calendars!
  8. Do you plan for content resuse before you create your content marketing? If not, here are 56 tips to help you with content reuse.
  9. Are you plan to curate content? Here are twelve steps to a content curation strategy.
  10. Do you have budget to create sufficient quality content to meet your organization’s needs?
  11. Do you have dedicated content marketing resources? (BTW – We can help   you with your content marketing needs.)

Develop your 2013 marketing plan

  1. What are your 2013 marketing strategies and do they flow from your business goals?
  2. How does your planned 2013 marketing media mix break out? Is it aligned with your target audience’s media consumption habits?
  3. What are your 2013 creative plans? Are they mapped out and integrated across channels?
  4. What is your 2013 advertising strategy and related approach?
  5. Are your search optimization plans updated for 2013 and  integrated with the rest of your marketing?
  6. Are website modifications planned to ensure that your site meets 2013 expectations? For example, depending on your audience, you may need a responsive design.
  7. Is every potential customer touch point optimized to attract  leads, prospects and customers?
  8. Is your email marketing plan integrated with the other facets of your marketing strategy? Realize that it’s not sexy and no one talks about email marketing.
  9. Do you have an effective mobile marketing strategy? Specifically do you have a mobile website, mobile app and mobile search?  (Here’s the latest mobile data you need!)
  10. Have you integrated the use of e-readers (Kindles), tablets ( iPads) and other portable devices where appropriate?
  11. Have you leveraged your organization’s physical establishment (if you have one) to support marketing your business?
  12. Is your 2013 PR strategy integrated into your overall communications strategy?
  13. Do you still use offline media as part of your media mix? If so, does it yield sufficient response to justify the cost?
  14. Are you considering the use of direct mail or other forms of promotional marketing in 2013? If so, do they provide sufficient return relative to their expense?
  15. Are you planning any offline meetings or events for your business in 2013?
  16. What conferences are you planning to attend in 2013 and how will you use them to extend your reach? Here are ten conference related tips.
  17. What new marketing formats are you considering adding to your 2013 plans?
  18. Does your organization have a crisis management plan in place? If so,  how frequently is it updated?

Keep your 2013 sales funnel primed

  1. Is your sales pipeline consistently full or do you have extreme peaks and valleys of activity? (Note: This is more important for B2B marketers.)
  2. How do you plan to generate sales leads in 2013?
  3. Is  your sales conversion process effective?
  4. Do you lose prospects at specific points in the purchase process? Do they get better offers via mobile or other means?
  5. Do you get repeat business from existing customers? If not, why not?
  6. Do your customers have other needs that your firm can fulfill?
  7. Do you get referrals from your existing customers?
  8. Do you have a set of fans? If so, what are you doing to support their community?

Encourage staff to succeed in 2013

  1. Do you have sufficient staff to achieve your 2013 goals?
  2. Do you have gaps in your staff where specialized skills are needed? Can these functions be outsourced or do you need to hire people with these specialized skills?
  3. Does senior management communicate with staff on a regular basis to keep everyone focused?
  4. Are employees motivated to achieve your 2013 goals?
  5. Are employee objectives aligned with your corporate goals?
  6. Are  employees publicly recognized?
  7. Are you at risk of loosing key executives or staff in 2013? If so, do you have a plan to  keep them?

Track your success

  1. What metrics do you plan to use in 2013 to track your progress towards your goals based on your marketing plan? Here’s how to track your content marketing.
  2. How are you tracking revenues and costs for 2013? Have you incorporated the interim steps towards sales?
  3. Are you tracking branding impact indicators (including sentiment) that are more difficult to track? Here’s a list of branding metrics.
  4. Do your KPIs need to be modified to achieve your 2013 goals?
  5. How’s your organization’s 2013 projected cash flow?

The beginning of the year is a good time to reassess your marketing to ensure that you’ve got a plan to keep your business on track to succeed rather than rushing to act without any focus.

What else would you add to this list and what is your rationale for your suggestion?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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