December is a great time to sit down and review that plan as well as the actual marketing activities you participated in for the past 12 months to see if you achieved the goals you set. It is also the perfect time to start planning your goals for next year as you will identify the activities that did very well for you this year and you will most likely want to replicate them again.
You will want to start out by identifying all of the marketing activities you participated in for the year by putting them into a list. Once you have all of the activities listed out, ask yourself the following questions and write down the answers for each one:
• Did this activity support me in driving new customers to my front door?
• Did this activity support me in retaining my existing customers?
• Did this activity increase my store sales and/or daily cash register rings per customer?
• Did this activity support the brand portfolio my store offers?
Depending on the response to each of these for each of the marketing activities you performed throughout the year, you will either want to continue to do them and incorporate them into your plan for the upcoming year or cancel any further investment in them.
The next thing you will want to do is review the goals you set for each activity. Did they achieve what you set out to achieve? If not, were your goals too aggressive? Or maybe the marketing activity was just not right.
Remember, your goals should always be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, results-driven and timely. It’s ok if you did not hit all of the goals you set, you can certainly fine tune them for the coming year.
Now that you have completed reviewing your individual marketing activities, review the SWOT analysis for your store to make sure it is still applicable. Remember, that one of the most important components of a marketing plan is the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis.
As part of this process, be sure that you are in tune to what your competitors are doing. You do not want to fall out of touch of your competitive environment. Make sure that you are looking at your competitors down the road as well as the dot-coms. Anybody selling pet food and supplies should be considered a competitor. It is important to complete this regularly as your competitive landscape often changes year to year.
Finally, you are now ready to redeploy your newly designed plan for the New Year. Be sure to include any new marketing activities that you have not done in the past. You don’t want to get stuck doing the same activities just because you are comfortable with them. Being able to compete and claim your share of the market is making sure you are keeping up on the latest marketing techniques.
For details on how to prepare a full marketing plan, please refer back to my article in the August issue of Pet Age.