Nov 06, 2013As we approach the end of 2013, now is the perfect time to reflect upon your previous marketing efforts and plan your goals for the year ahead. When planning ahead, you will want to consider your current marketing efforts—what is working, what is not and why? If you are just getting started, then you have a clean slate that the tips below will help you carefully begin building upon. Regardless of the size of your staff or budget, every company should have clear marketing goals tied to its business goals, in order to effectively grow its business.
We often hear clients say things like "I want more leads" or "more white-paper downloads." These are common goals for many businesses, but they simply are not good enough. If you do not clearly define your marketing goals, then how will you know how much time and money to allocate to your marketing campaigns, or if they were successful?
Marketing goals need to be well-defined and include specific, measurable numbers that can be realistically attained over a period of time. If you are looking to generate millions of dollars in sales from one 30-day banner-ad campaign, that is simply not realistic. Depending on your product and market, however, that may be a realistic goal for a trade-show exhibition.
When defining your goals, you need to consider your market, marketing channels, costs and past performance. If you have a limited budget or no prior data to work with, then start small and carefully test your marketing efforts so you can get a feel for what best attracts your target audience, and obtain a baseline of realistic performance metrics, such as leads and conversion rates. It is important to identify your target audience for each campaign, and to tie that into your goals. Do your RFID solutions serve a specific industry, like health care or retail? Are you interested in gaining market share within a particular region, like Europe or South America? You want to be sure to use different strategies to attract business professionals within each of your niches, who are also interested in RFID technologies.
Let's take a closer look at how to drill down into specific goals. For example, if your overall marketing goal is to generate more leads, it would be well-defined as "We need to generate 500 new leads for RFID in health care from our marketing campaign over the next year." An even better, more defined goal would be "We need 500 new qualified leads for our RFID health-care solution from our marketing campaign, which will result in at least 10 sales this year and contribute $500,000 in revenue." The latter, more specific goal can only be created if you have defined metrics to back into it, like your average sale and closing rate. You also need to define a qualified lead. Is it someone who walked through a cool demonstration at a health-care industry event? Someone who clicked on a Google text ad, or who has expressed an interest in your product category? The more specific you can get by narrowing down your target audience, the easier it will be to determine your campaign, budget and success.
Once you have your marketing goals clearly defined to your business goals, you can start mapping out how to achieve them. Maybe you plan is to generate half of your leads online and half from trade shows. How much traffic and how many clicks will it take to generate 250 (half of the 500) leads? These new leads will not just find you, so how much time and money can you allocate to creating marketing materials and purchasing media placements to attract them? When coming up with a plan of action, ask yourself how you will get leads from your target audience. Where can you find leads that have demonstrated an interest in deploying RFID technologies—and, more particularly, the products you offer?
Once you have identified where you will connect with your target audience, you will need to figure out how to connect with them. What kind of message can you craft that will attract them to click on your banner? What incentive can you offer that is compelling enough to your target market to get them to give you their contact information over the Internet, or to visit your booth at a trade show? And how much money can you afford to spend to achieve your sales goals?
Another important step is to make sure you can track your results. If you create a banner ad that drives traffic to your homepage, you will likely only be able to track the number of people who clicked on your ad to visit your Web site. How will you determine the percentage of visitors from the ad who found what they were looking for on your site, and who then took extra steps to find your phone number or enter information on your contact form? If you are spending the time and money to run marketing campaigns, it is critical to set up a clear path for measurable lead capture. The same rule applies for people visiting your booth at a trade show: Capture your leads the first time, because you may not get a second chance.
Be sure to review the results of your campaigns regularly, in order to make sure you are on track toward achieving your goals. Your marketing campaigns will likely need to be tested and tweaked throughout the year. Make any necessary changes to your creative, media placements and budget, but keep in mind that marketing takes time. Don't expect to achieve your annual goals in one month with a new ad campaign. It will take some time to find the right offer, messaging, creative and places to capture your target audience's attention. Start with simple, achievable goals and slowly build your campaigns out from there.
Sonja Valenta is RFID Journal's VP of marketing. For a free consultation about your RFID marketing strategy, e-mail email@example.com.