By: Julie Herbster, Quattro’s Vice President of Strategy

There are nine weeks left in 2016.

This is the time of year when marketers everywhere are evaluating their efforts, setting new goals and putting together plans for the year to come.

These tasks can be intimidating – I‘ve been there. And knowing what technology and tactics to incorporate can be one of the hardest parts.

Whether you’re still working on your plan, submitting it for approval or haven’t even put pen to paper, there are a few things that all marketers should seriously consider next year to better connect with their customers.

The following list represents three key areas that should be part of your 2017 marketing plan.

1. Build a customer experience strategy

Companies should take a portion of their media budget and allocate it toward creating unique, memorable customer experiences, rather than continuing to allocate the entirety of their marketing budget to planned advertisements and paid media. Often, you can spend less money, and create more media exposure, creating an unforgettable event where consumers drive in organic media, rather than trying to push out pre-set brand creative in paid media channels. Challenge yourself to be open to this and allow the consumer to help develop your brand.

The key is to create something people are excited to interact with. When you build an experience like this, people will naturally share across their channels and can end up creating a media plan for you. It’s often more powerful, less forced, and reaches even further at a lower cost.

Another tip: Carve out a piece of your media budget for influencers who are reaching your target audience. Engage them in the experience and you could end up reaching even more people than you would with a traditional media spend.

2. Place a renewed focus on retention marketing  

Acquisition should not always be the primary piece of your marketing plans. Take a good look at your retention strategy and ask the following questions:

  • Are you collecting preference information from your customers? If you’re not, start immediately and use it religiously.
  • What are you doing to nurture customers after you have their information? Make sure you are providing ways for them to stay engaged instead of letting those customer lists collect dust.
  • Are you providing customers with the content they want? Help your customers solve their current and future problems.

Also, don’t forget to provide your customers with the opportunity to help others. Often, marketers focus too narrowly on a particular age or demographic. Broaden your perspective on these individuals and find other opportunities. 

For example: You’re a financial services institution who is nurturing a current customer who happens to be a woman in her mid-forties with a career in nursing. Instead of thinking about this individual only, consider the people around her who she could help or reach with your marketing efforts. She’s not just a nurse; she’s a mother, a daughter, and a friend. If you develop the right marketing strategy, she could end up being an influencer for your brand and inspire the people around her to interact with your company also.

3. Create a video marketing strategy

87% of online marketers use video content, according to Hyperfine Media’s infographic.

 Marketers know that it’s an effective way to engage audiences, but consider the additional data points from Hyperfine Media’s infographic:

  • Video in an email leads to 200-300% increase in click-through rate
  • Including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%
  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that marketers are planning to increase their budgets to make room for this.

I know what you’re thinking…producing great video content can be expensive. But no matter how big or small your budget is, there are ways you can cost-effectively produce quality video content. The video advertising software market is growing wildly and competition in this space is only going to rise with an increasing amount of marketers becoming producers. I recommend looking into these resources to produce what you need at the right price. Still too expensive? Don’t forget, a powerful campaign to capture user-generated video content from your customers can be an easy, low-cost way to capture real, candid video assets. Often, this can represent your brand better than anything that an expensive production studio could deliver. 

Ultimately, I encourage you to think outside of the box when creating marketing plans. If you’re stuck or unsure about your approach, get an outside perspective to help brainstorm new ideas. You never know what valuable insight you can gain from others. And don’t forget: Your customer and their needs always come first.

Need help with your 2017 plan? We’d be happy to help.