Whether you were a fan of it or not, 2016 has been a year of very rapid change. Political, financial, and corporate changes have affected the country. Moving forward into 2017, it’s not a stretch to say that this period of change is unlikely to stop or reverse itself anytime soon.
So what can we all do for the New Year? Well, from our perspective, we can review what we’ve learned about marketing and how to do it from the past year: we’ve conglomerated all of our best information from our articles from this year into this one master document to give you some advice on what to implement come 2017.
We will be advising you to identify your brand and who it speaks to, be true to your company’s message and the research you do to make progress, and vary your social media posts across multiple mediums. These pieces of advice were true for the research period in and before 2015, have proven true in 2016, and will almost certainly ring true in 2017, so take notes: knowing all of this will keep you ahead of the game for marketing come the morning of January 2nd!
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Find Your Brand: Identify Who It Speaks To
A brand, as we’ve identified before, is the public image that is both created by the company and perceived by the public: it is created through the actions of the company, deliberate or not, along with the presentation of and quality of the company’s primary goods and/or services.  When you’re doing branding for your company, you need to first identify some basic aspects of your company via the centrally important Marketing Mix. Put simply, the Marketing Mix is the identification of the: 
When you combine these aspects of branding and marketing, you reach the key to your marketing campaign: the understanding of your company, what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, and how you’re perceived through selling it. All together, this is the layout of your company, your brand: you may now understand what you’re selling and (if you read studies, surveys, and your sales reports) who is most interested in buying your product. With this, you know who your marketing should target. On that note...
- Product - Precisely what it is you’re selling (Beer or liquor? Sweater or Long-sleeve shirt?)
- Price - What price you’d feasibly like to charge for it (A luxury item, Dollar Store item, or in between?)
- Place - The location that your product should be sold at (Midwest America or urban China?)
- Promotion - The means by which you promote your product via advertising, word of mouth, social media, or corporate image
Be True To Yourself & Follow the Research
Being true to yourself can mean several things philosophically, but for our purposes, we mean that you should be honest about what you’ve discovered doing the corporate soul searching above as well as through corporate research.
Two of the key aspects of a strategic marketing plan is the assessment of the work done so far along with the evaluation of the current market: if you ignore this information, it is to your own detriment. This identifies the needs of the company moving forward: it is necessary to understand what areas need to be improved on in the context of the market that the company is working in.  Moving forward into the new year, for any meaningful change to happen, you need to acknowledge the problems intrinsic in your company and working with the market to optimize your plan. Be true to yourself: no company runs perfectly, but your company will always have things you can improve on.
Listen to the research. The research guides you where to go.
Optimize and Vary Your Online Presence
Finally, as we’ve said countless times, in the modern technological era, it is imperative for your company to have some sort of online presence. You need to have a website as your home base, you should create a Facebook and a LinkedIn page, and you should optimize your content for search results by using key phrases on your website and creating a Google+ page. 
Do your research on what your consumers are using by demographic:
Remember not to post the same kind of content between sites. You can post pictures of a cute company dog on your Instagram, but unless you’re a pet-based business, you shouldn’t be posting those on your LinkedIn. A paragraphs long story of your business works well to attract people on Facebook, but no one wants to read that kind of material on Twitter. 
- Facebook and LinkedIn are fairly ubiquitous
- YouTube is a great source for uploading promotional videos, and its usage is ubiquitous for video sharing.
- Google+ works for your search engine optimization because Google will heighten your results if you sign up for their service.
- Twitter and Instagram are primarily used by people 35 and under, and Twitter specifically is used by a significant percentage of this demographic.
- Pinterest is a popular site for women to browse consumer goods and fashion items.
Be smart, observe what other people and businesses are using successfully, and take their example. Don’t be a robot: be personable, answer questions, and take feedback. 
2017 is here soon, and if you’re reading this right now, you’ve taken the first step towards having a good year by looking for outside help on marketing.
Assess what your company does best, observe the market, take notes of online trends that best fit your demographic, and adhere to what your data suggests you do. Make a resolution to do all of that and you’re sure to see some returns.
Remember: marketing can’t fix all the problems of a business (you’re not going to sell snowshoes on Miami Beach), but it can definitely help your business grow in recognition, establish yourselves with an online presence, and communicate with what customers that you have that you understand them and care. Despite all the anxiety about this year and next, let’s resolve to follow these steps for a better marketing plan together.
If you need help with it or just want some fresh ideas, give Intelligent Design Collaborative a call or an e-mail. Happy New Years, everyone!
Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.