by Mike Smiley, Consultant and Marketing Practice Leader, Decision Associates

2016 GrownthWith the New Year approaching, now is a critical time to ensure that your plans and budget for 2016 includes key initiatives that support revenue growth.

Market Research. Regardless of your industry, you need an ongoing understanding of your market, customers and prospects. With this data in hand, you can differentiate your company from the competition and better align with customer needs.

Corporate Strategy. Your corporate strategy encompasses allocations of budget, staff and time. It is the foundation for all your functional strategies and the pursuit of organizational growth.

Product Strategy. As you might suspect, this strategy defines the direction of your company’s products and sets up your marketing and sales strategies for success. It may include potential solutions to solve market problems, as well as plans to launch products.

Marketing Strategy. Building on the insights you garner of your external market, a solid marketing strategy drives demand and generates leads for products and services. In this part of your plan, you are required to understand which marketing channels deliver the best returns.

Sales Strategy. Like the marketing strategy, your sales strategy must build on the insights of the external marketplace. It also must remain aligned with the corporate strategy. The sales strategy requires you to make choices about which sales programs to pursue.

Prior to committing resources to these strategies, be sure to take stock of your brand’s overall situation via a thorough SWOT analysis. Also, take time to review your customer profiles to confirm how they make purchasing decisions and their preferred channels for interaction with your company. Then establish your goals, create your marketing campaign, and define the budget needed to support your plans.

Remember to develop targeted initiatives for cold, warm, and hot prospects using proven tactics for each stage of your cycle:

Cold Prospects: Focus on brand awareness across the board, integrating thought leadership, content creation, advertising and public relations.

Warm Prospects. Build your relationship with relevant messaging and content via email, blogs and white papers that address their pain points.

Hot Prospects. Close the sale with in-person visits and phone calls supported by action-oriented content and discounts.

If there is a constant in marketing today, it is change. Consider how you can take advantage of these evolving trends.

Content Marketing Goes Visual

The shift to video continues to accelerate. Both B2C and B2B companies are allocating bigger budgets to create and distribute video and other visual content across multiple channels.

Keywords Become Passe

Search engines are favoring websites with useful, authority-driven content (including video) with page quality measured by time on page and click-through to additional pages.

User Generated Content Grows

Build trust by embracing those online reviews, social media posts and other co-created content to strengthen your relationship with your customers.

Wearable Technology Means More Data

User adoptions of wearable technology will increase by as much as 30 percent next year, yielding massive amounts of data to further target your marketing efforts.


For additional insight on strategies for 2016 contact your NWIRC Strategic Business Advisor or Mike at