Welcome to 2024! With a new year comes new vision and a fresh look at your growth potential. As you consider new opportunities to expand your market share, let’s review how you can first assess your current marketing activities and plan your company marketing efforts for the year ahead in five steps. While a full marketing assessment is a multi-faceted, detailed process, this basic outline will give you a baseline for how and where to start.
Market Analysis Step 1: Do Another SWOT Analysis
If you’re unfamiliar with marketing acronyms, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. This kind of analysis or data collection project is best done with a group so there’s input from multiple people and viewpoints. As a brand evolves, it’s important to take a look now and again to asses and reassess who the company is, what the company is great at, any weak points in the brand, and what potential threats exist (other companies, outside issues and/or internal problems).
As Hubspot describes it, a SWOT analysis “gives you a chance to worry and to dream.” This is a time where you can define your goals, look at your mission to see if it still matches your current and future goals, and consider who your target audience is.
It’s normal for companies to evolve over time as they pursue new business opportunities, zero in on a specific market of their industry, or adjust due to a major competitor. This kind of analysis will help you in gathering data and taking a big picture of who you are, as well as in understanding your current performance, any competition, and aspects of the business you may want to focus on for the new year.
It can feel like a lot to bring up all the information about your company’s current state, but our team has walked a number of clients through their SWOT analysis and the process is always enlightening. The interesting findings and insights that are raised always end up influencing future strategy.
Pull in Your Sales and Marketing Teams for Step 2: Auditing Yourself
The next step in your market assessment is to perform an audit of your current marketing strategy. Take a look at your email marketing, your digital marketing, and your print marketing. Bring everything to the table and consider what’s working well — where you’re gaining qualified leads and what matches up with your business plan. This may be a conversation that your various teams, especially sales and marketing, should be a part of as they can really speak to the work that’s been involved in the most recent digital marketing strategy and beyond.
It’s also important to look at what your competitors are doing. This isn’t to copy what they’re doing, but to understand where and how other specific companies (your competitors) are reaching audiences. This may give you insight on new avenues for your marketing and will give you a better understanding of where your potential customers are hanging out. You never know — a competitor may have an edge on emerging trends that you missed!
Company Marketing Assessment Step 3: Research and Assess Your Customer’s Journey Map
Now that you’ve spent some time looking at what other small businesses may be doing to reach customers, it’s time to identify trends in how customers are finding you. Where are they hearing about your company and your offerings? Is it through search engines? Maybe it’s digital marketing — influencer work, native ads, or paid advertising? It’s important to know where your customers are generally finding you so you can expand on those successful strategies.
Next you need to consider how customers contact you. These insights will help you determine if any changes need to be made in the contact process. Also take a look at how customers seek out services and products like yours. This assessment may identify new buying patterns you weren’t aware of that you can use to expand your marketing in the future.
Bottom line: Creating easy ways for potential customers to contact you and begin a relationship is vital to your company’s overall performance, so make sure you know all the ways your company is talking to the market.
Step 4: Consider How You Can Reach Your Target Market — Digital Marketing Strategy and Beyond
In this part of your marketing assessment, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and conduct research in your specific industry. To determine next steps in reaching your target market, you can send out surveys to current customers/clients as well as past customers. You want to be asking questions that will help you learn about everything from how difficult it is to find products like yours to your unique customer experience to how hard it is to understand/use your products.
You want to know as much as people will tell you about what it’s like to work with you and your products! Ask people for an example of when they were frustrated with your product. Or ask for an example of a time they bought from a competitor instead of from you.
Remember: knowledge is power. The data you gain will help shape the final step in your market assessment process, which is planning for the future.
5. Start Conversations About the Future
Your market assessment won’t amount to anything if you don’t talk about the future and make plans. You’ve done all the hard work of taking serious looks at your company and its current marketing offerings, you’ve talked with clients and customers, and now it’s time to assess what your future strategies could be.
A few things to consider:
- How can you retain customers? What changes do you need to make to up the value of your services? Is there a way to create greater brand loyalty? Make a goal of increasing customer retention this year!
- What is your budget for marketing this year? Should you reallocate funds to support the market data of where customers are finding you?
- Creatively, what will you need? Is it time for a brand refresh? Do you need a campaign to launch a new product or expand to a new market? Make sure you have the creative services in place to support all aspects of your marketing needs. You can read some examples of what you may need right here.
Let J.O. Help You Stand Apart in the Competitive Landscape
When it comes to figuring out solutions to your marketing assessment questions, J.O. Agency is the team to call. Our South Main Village office, in the heart of Fort Worth, is a place where many a company has performed their market assessment and then built a data-informed sales strategy to communicate their value to new and current audiences.
Our team is dedicated to telling your story in the best way possible and getting it in front of as many people as possible. We’re here to help you understanding your current standing in the market and then build a path towards your biggest goals and dreams. To start a conversation, reach out to us on our website or 817-335-0100.