As we enter the fourth and final quarter of the year, companies look back at the year’s marketing activities to evaluate results and begin planning for the year to come. These strategic end of year activities, while necessary, often cause a shift in focus and lead to a decline in fourth quarter marketing campaigns. Just as it is important to look ahead, it is equally as important not to lose focus on the present.
While others slow their marketing efforts as the year-end approaches, you can have a competitive edge and break away from the norm. There are many key reasons your organization should break away from this trend and keep your marketing push strong.
Top 3 reasons to continue marketing in the fourth quarter:
1. Current Year’s Spending Deadlines: It’s not over, till it’s over.
While it may be rare, as the year is wrapping up, some departments find themselves with additional budget dollars allocated. With the “use it or lose it” policy found in most organizations, department managers are looking for opportunities to spend these excess dollars.
- Don’t get passed up by a lack of visibility. Make sure your organization is front and center in the event your prospects are looking for ways to spend their dollars.
- Keep your marketing efforts active and make sure to include messaging that can be used by department heads to help justify the purchase, including value-based bullet points highlighting achievable results in the current year and extending into the next year.
2. Next Year’s Budget Consideration: I wish I may, I wish I might.
This is the time when many companies start kicking off their budgeting efforts and mapping out their spend for next year. During this process, minds are churning and research is frequent as department heads look for ways to get the biggest bang for their buck. Ensure you make their budget “wish list” by kicking off marketing campaigns focused on how your products/services address key pain points and will deliver future success.
- Make sure your messaging is strong by talking with customers and prospects to identify hot topics to address in these communications.
- Leverage ROI tools, or offer a cost/benefit analysis to help department heads justify the spend.
- Provide case studies and customer testimonials to increase credibility and prove past successes.
3. Marketing Momentum: Out of sight, out of mind.
Whether you are working on your final push for a sale in the current year, or ramping up for a busy first quarter, it is important your products/services remain top of mind with your customers and prospects. Key to this is ongoing communications with your target audience to avoid missed opportunities.
- Continue to implement nurture campaigns to those prospects who are qualified, but not sales ready and to those customers who have potential for cross-sell/up-sell.
- Keep your communications consistent, leveraging your brand for quick recognition.
- Make sure your messaging hits home by segmenting your database and communications to closely target areas of interest.
Campaigns that Count
While it is important to keep your marketing efforts going throughout Q4, make sure you provide value to your audience by offering them something of interest. Don’t communicate just for the sake of communicating. Treat your database with respect and avoid communications that can be perceived as intrusive. This can be accomplished through ensuring each communication offers your audience something of interest, including items such as topical whitepapers, articles, webinars and demos.
Market Strong All Year Long
Whether you are looking to wrap up the year with a win, or gain a head start on the year to come, remember to keep your marketing efforts strong all year long, including those often forgotten fourth quarter months. Be in the right place at the right time by ensuring ongoing, consistent communications with your audience to build and maintain brand recognition and consistently communicate your value proposition. Avoid marketing backtracking caused by the absence of your marketing message and continue to propel your marketing forward.