Closing Out the Year
In this blog series, we have been exploring the four distinct marketing seasons: Launch, Optimize, Analyze, and Strategy. Like the changing seasons of nature, these marketing phases are closely intertwined with societal behaviors and trends. At Flint Avenue, we firmly believe that familiarizing yourself with each season equips businesses with strategic marketing approaches that align with the ever-shifting patterns of human behavior. This understanding offers insightful methods to anticipate when target audiences are most inclined to engage with specific products and services. Throughout this series, we have been thoroughly exploring each phase, providing you with actionable insights on how to leverage the unique characteristics of each season. By doing so, you can maximize your resources and pave a sustainable path towards long-term growth. So far, we’ve dived into the excitement of Launch season, the expansiveness of Optimize season, and the critical thinking and connections that occur during Analyze season. In this blog, we will take stock of our fourth and final marketing season—Strategy.
What is Strategy Season?
Congratulations! Making it through to Strategy season is a huge accomplishment for any business. This phase is a time to honor your previous year of work and look towards the new one to come. Now that the year is drawing to a close, you’ll have a wider array of data to examine. Ask yourself several questions such as:
- What were the great business successes of the past year?
- What challenges and difficulties arose that need careful attention or reworking in the future?
- How can your business expand during the upcoming year, and what needs to happen to make that a reality?
Investigating these questions can illuminate an innovative path forward. Through reflection and strategic thinking, your business can evaluate the competitive landscape, identify emerging trends, further define your company vision, and reallocate resources to chart a course for success as the new year approaches.
Who is Most Impacted by Strategy Season?
While Strategy season has a strong impact on many, here are just a few industries that might feel its effects more significantly:
Technology and Software:
Often occurring during the late fall/early winter, Strategy season is crucial for the agriculture and food production industry to plan for the year ahead. Through evaluating crop yields, assessing market demand, and anticipating seasonal fluctuations in supply and demand, professionals can use data from the past year to plan for the year ahead. Strategy season is when farmers often consult agricultural experts, review agricultural publications, attend industry conferences or workshops, and analyze market forecasts to gather information and insights for their planning.
Cars, coats, luggage—you name it! Consumer activity is high during this time, and most retail dollars will be spent during Strategy season. Each of the top ten busiest retail days of the year fall between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the ultimate day being Black Friday. While the rest of the world plans and schemes for the upcoming year, professionals in this industry could also benefit from some high-quality marketing boosts during this time. For instance, refreshing visual merchandising, increasing social media presence, reorienting store layouts, and inventory reviews are optimal tasks during this quarter to help increase sales.
Non-profit and Social Impact Organizations:
Strategy season is critical for non-profit and social impact organizations to reflect on the effectiveness of their efforts. Mission achievements should be celebrated, effectiveness of programs should be considered, and strategies can be developed on how to better serve target beneficiaries. Organizations can use this season as an opportunity to review fundraising efforts, explore partnerships, and develop sustainable strategies to maximize impact.
Tips for a Successful Strategy Season:
Reflect on the Past Year’s Performance:
Take the time to assess your business’s achievements, challenges, and lessons learned over the past year. Use metrics and customer feedback gathered during Analyze season obtain knowledge and use it improve your business’s position. Gain that competitive edge! Additionally, this data can help inform employee feedback. With 69% of employees reporting that they would work harder if offered recognition through feedback, it is crucial to celebrate successes and give direction for future endeavors! These reflections will guide your strategic decision-making for the upcoming year.
Set Goals and Develop an Action Plan:
Based on your analysis, identify areas of growth and potential opportunities. Set clear, measurable goals for the upcoming new year that align with your company’s vision and values. These goals should be realistic yet ambitious, with room for adaptation when put into action. With this vision, you can formulate a comprehensive action plan, detailing steps, responsibilities, and timelines. This action plan should be reviewed every Strategy season in order to keep up with the ever-evolving marketing world.
Evaluate Competitive Landscape:
Analyze your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning. Identifying gaps in the market can steer you towards setting your business apart from the rest. What can your services and products provide that the market needs? Are there ways you can find a gap in competitor marketing to best reach certain customer segments? By understanding the competitive landscape, you can refine your value proposition and target specific market segments effectively.
Foster Collaboration and Innovation:
Strategy season is an ideal time to engage with your team. Think of it as a time to touch base and reconnect! This can be done through brainstorming sessions or other creative opportunities to connect and collaborate. By gathering your entire team, you can encourage diverse perspectives and leverage the collective intelligence of your workforce to generate fresh ideas and solutions. About 75% of employees claim collaboration to be vital in a workspace; this collaborative approach can lead to breakthrough strategies and innovations that can propel your business forward into Launch season.
Optimize Resource Allocation:
Based on your set goals and priorities, reassess the allocation of your resources, including budget, personnel, and technology. Strategy season is a great time to determine whether your business has the necessary resources to implement your strategy effectively. If you find your company needs additional support, then consider investing in technology upgrades, employee training, and talent acquisition for the upcoming year.
To Sum It All Up
Strategy season is for making that last great effort to close out the year strong. Take stock of lessons learned and employ that knowledge to make plans for the future. Take time to praise the successes you and your team have accomplished—you deserve recognition! As the year draws to a close, Strategy season supplies you with some space to celebrate, reflect, and plan before the cycle begins anew.