Public Relations, Social Media

Five Steps to Spring Clean Your Marketing Plan

By Melissa Baratta | On April 14, 2015

It’s mid-April. The sun is shining, the air is warmer – it’s time for iced coffee, lighter jackets and a good airing out of the home and office after being cooped up all winter. It’s also a good time to take a look at your marketing plan to see how it’s going so far in 2015. Dust off any cobwebs, add some shine and generally give it a good cleaning before we enter the summer months when half your team (and clients/customers) go out on vacation.

Here are five ways to refresh your marketing plan based on how things went in Q1:

  1. Review Results / Revisit Metrics

Take a good look at the results of the program so far. What’s been achieved? Are you on track to meet mid-year or annual goals? Have the marketing results translated into business ROI? If not, think about what didn’t work and what can be done differently going forward. Revisit any ideas in the program that haven’t gotten off the ground yet, and make a plan for moving them forward.

Also consider your metrics and make sure your tracking procedures are actually working; don’t wait until the end of the year to check whether the marketing strategy yielded measurable results.

  1. Refine Media Relations

If you haven’t built a media relations flight plan for the year, chances are your program’s been a little ad hoc to this point. Try mapping out your media strategy for the next quarter, slotting in company announcements as well as proactive thought leadership topics and bylines. If you do have a flight plan, take a look to make sure you’re still on schedule, and make any adjustments necessary. If coverage hasn’t been quite as high as you’d hoped since the start of the year, the topics may need refreshing; brainstorm some new ideas for content and think about conducting a survey or gathering some new data to infuse the media program with new life. More ideas on how to do that here.

  1. Ramp Up Social

If your social media program has gone a little stale, re-evaluate your social strategy and make a plan for getting it back on track. This could mean re-focusing on just a few target channels to really make an impact, adding a new channel like Reddit to amp up the volume online, or adjusting your content strategy. Check out the videos on Tech Affect for more tips on social strategy refinement.

  1. Evaluate Brand Perception 

Beyond media relations and social media, it’s important to examine how customers are interacting with your brand overall. A recent IBM study found that the majority of consumers are actually disappointed by marketers, and there’s a significant gap between what companies think they are doing well from a marketing perspective vs. what customers think about the marketing program. From the call center to the website to content engagement, it’s important to understand how your target audience is interacting with the brand and where there is room for improvement. Spring is a good time to evaluate this – whether through customer surveys, website analytics, or other customer engagement tactics – and establish a good brand experience for customers moving forward.

  1. Conduct a Competitive Analysis

The final thing you might want to consider is conducting a competitive analysis to determine what your competitors are up to this year and if there is anything you can learn from that knowledge. By looking at competitive websites, messaging, promotions, social channels, media coverage, etc., you can make sure your marketing strategy appropriately differentiates the brand from competitors, builds on anything they are doing well and capitalizes on opportunities to “own” certain messages or value propositions in the market.

Melissa Baratta

Melissa is a Senior Vice President at Affect, where she uses her extensive background working with technology and healthcare companies to raise her clients’ brand profiles and position them as thought leaders in their respective industries. As an expert in stakeholder communications, she is adept at helping clients develop creative ways to communicate thoughtfully with their key audiences. Prior to joining Affect, Melissa served as Managing Director for Ricochet Public Relations.