Welcome to 2016.  An election year (in case you had not heard).  That means we will all be inundated with political ads and mailings that will create even more marketing clutter (see below) that your brand will have to fight through.  So with that in mind, here are some ABC’s (and a D) for marketing in 2016.

A sk.  Or to put it another way, do not Assume.  If you are marketing a $150,000 car or $1 million home improvement project, chances are you can’t afford it.  If you’re marketing a drug or medical device, you most likely do not have the condition it treats.  So you are not your target market.  And if you aren’t your target market, you can’t assume you know what they want.  So spend some money on research and ask the target market.  Ask them:

  • Why they want a product or service like yours (the benefits)
  • What purchase decision drivers they use to decide on a particular brand (the Drivers – another “D” word candidate)
  • How your brand rates on those drivers (so you can Differentiate, which was another “D” candidate)
  • Where they go to get information (Channels, which was a “C” word candidate)

Remember, spending a little money on research like this is insurance so that when you spend a lot of money on tactics, you’re spending that money correctly.

B udget.  Have a marketing budget in place.  Not only will that tell you how you will spend your money, it will also tell you how you will not spend your money.  In other words, it gives you a valid reason to say “no” to all those people trying to push their products or services.

C lutter, specifically break through it (I almost used B reak through the clutter as my “B”).  Challenge (there is another “C”) your agency to be wildly creative and unpredictable.  Make them earn their money in 2016.  If you are an agency, encourage your clients to push the envelope.

D igital.   If you are not spending a portion of your marketing budget on digital, you probably need to.  With people spending more time on the Internet, digital marketing is becoming increasingly important.  I know this is not exactly news, but it bears repeating.  And as you are expanding your digital efforts, keep thinking mobile.  Check to see what percentage of your Website traffic is mobile; you might be surprised.  And now you will be penalized in search if your Website is not mobile friendly (responsive).  Not sure how to venture into the digital marketing word?  A sk.