Leslie Park Lynn is a 15 year restaurant industry veteran.
While the end of the year may seem like a long way off, in planning terms it’s a lot closer than you think. In order to put together a great marketing plan for 2017 it’s important to be dedicated to making improvements to your marketing tactics and initiatives in order to grow your business in the coming year.
Here are some steps to follow and some good marketing resolutions for the new year.
Resolution 1: Take a Look Back
A good way to start is not to look forward but to look backward to review the effectiveness of last year’s plan. Dust off your notes and your marketing plan and compare them to the results of your efforts. Did that holiday promotion yield increased traffic and sales? How effective were those seasonal changes to your menu? Sometimes looking at things in broader terms than the day to day or even the month to month can give you a better picture of results. It’s important to remember what the goals and objectives were for your business and whether or not your plan and your initiatives achieved them. Calculate your return on investment in real pounds or dollars and be realistic about the results. Sometimes putting pen to paper helps you understand the effectiveness of your efforts more clearly. Perceptions can sometimes be misleading.
Resolution 2: Set Your Goals
Take some time to really think about what you want to achieve in the coming year. Writing down your goals and objectives is an important step to actually achieving them. Writing them down forces you to ask the tough questions and evaluate them from a more objective viewpoint.
Goals should be S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based) in order for them to be effective in the long run. Time spent here will pay dividends down the road.
Resolution 3: Develop a Marketing Plan
It’s not enough to say you want to grow your business in the coming year. You have to create and employ the methods to do so. Creating a well thought out marketing plan gives you a roadmap for executing initiatives and working towards your goals and objectives. Good marketing plans not only incorporate ideas and initiatives they should also include a dedicated budget and a calendar to help manage events, advertising and other marketing tactics.
When building your marketing calendar be sure to be mindful and take advantage of holidays, community events and any other potential tie-ins that you can build upon. Having your marketing calendar complete well in advance of the new year will allow you to plan accordingly from an execution and budgetary standpoint.
Resolution 4: Educate Yourself
The marketing world, especially the digital landscape, is evolving rapidly around us. In order to stay up with the latest and most effective marketing methods and technologies it is important to make an effort to learn what is new and emerging. Industry articles, blogs and industry reports, such as this article, are a great source of information and are readily available for restaurant owners to read and learn from.
Make a resolution to incorporate some new ideas and/or technologies into your marketing plan for the coming new year. Take a look at your current engagement in social media and see how you might take it to the next level, for example. Social media platforms are always evolving and offering new ways to connect. Don’t miss the opportunity to try something new for your business simply because you don’t know it exists.
Resolution 5: Spend the Money
When you are working hard everyday in your restaurant to try to turn a profit its easy to justify not spending the marketing dollars necessary to grow your business. But smart operators know that investing into the business in a well planned and thought out way yields dividends that are not just immediate but also pay down the road. If you have done your homework and built a well researched and well organized marketing plan you should have no reservations in spending the money necessary to execute it. Prioritize your marketing dollars for one simple reason: Your business will never be never be standing still. You are either growing or dying.
Making good resolutions to grow your business through improved marketing efforts is just smart business. Doing the same thing as last year most likely will yield results that are flat to negative. Learn something new, try the untried and push your business to the next level this year. Your revenues and your bottom line will thank you.