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Reviewing Your Marketing Plan and Revamp for the New Year

Change is inevitable. But it’s also something as caterers, event planners, and event venue owners we should come to expect and plan accordingly. As business owners, we should be familiar with learning to adapt and change with the tides.  To continue to grow and succeed in our prospective industries, we need to stay on top of trends and best practices to ensure we don’t get left behind.

However, given the way 2020 worked itself out, no one could prepare for the amount of change we would have to endure. For many of us, our business ventures shifted as our usual string of events and marketing promotions took a strong pivot thanks to strict regulations among a global pandemic. So now more than ever, it’s important to reflect on the past year and your marketing efforts to see what worked and what could be approved upon. To help revamp your marketing plan in the new year, here are a few areas to consider:

Define Your ICAs

Ideal customer avatars (ICAs) are typically one of the first steps a business takes to understand better who they’re trying to reach with their marketing efforts. They help express what their ideal client is like, what they want, what they need, their problems, and even their socioeconomic classifications. But because these are one of the first things we create, it also stands to reason that they’re the first thing that should be revised.

Think of it this way: Initially, our ICA was looking for a wedding caterer that could pull off a large-scale wedding of around 300 people. However, due to the pandemic, large scale events are virtually non-existent, and instead, your ICA is looking for a more intimate experience for 25 people. If nothing else, this example showcases how quickly a client’s needs can shift or change altogether. In most cases, what a client initially wanted isn’t feasible in this current state of the world. Adjusting our ICAs to match these new real-world speculations can help to appeal to your audience and help snag business where a business isn’t so readily available.

Ask Yourself What Problem You Solve

When trying to appeal to an audience, a business should always pay close attention to what problems they solve for their clients. Chances are you’re not the only caterer or event planner in your area specializing in luxury events, so it’s vital that you also understand how and why you solve problems better than anyone else. What sets you apart from your competition?

Another thing to ponder when considering your problem-solving abilities is how your problems have changed over the years. 2020 is a prime example. Because most large-scale events, weddings, and other engagements have been canceled for the foreseeable future, have your problems and solutions seemingly disappeared overnight? Is it pertinent that you pivot to finding new areas of your industry to problem-solve for?  While you may be used to working on larger solutions to more major problems, it may require you to think locally before beginning to act globally. Scale back the issues you solve to meet the needs of your clients.

Consider New Revenue Streams

Revenue streams are another area of your business that might need a revamp in the new year. Pay close attention to how you brought cash flow into your business last year as opposed to now. Likely, some of the additional revenue streams that you once utilized are no longer possible. For example, as a caterer, you can’t increase business via specialty events or catered meals. Instead, you may want to consider offering to-go style family meals or open up to the possibility of selling other food-related products to help fill that void.

When planning new streams of money, make sure that these new offerings are focused on your audience’s needs while also keeping in mind your own set of skills and any new external factors caused by the pandemic or a shift in the industry. People aren’t going to leap if what you’re offering isn’t something they’re looking for, nor if it’s something you’re not comfortable doing.

Plan Promotions Around the Natural Flow of the Year

Yet another area of your marketing plan to reconsider is your promotional schedule. When looking to enhance your efforts at pushing for sales, it’s important to look at the year’s natural flow. This means taking full advantage of traditional times of the year where a business is normally booming.

As an event planner or caterer, you’ll recognize that the wedding season, engagement season, and even the winter holiday months are when you’re normally high in demand. While you don’t want to overbook or overexert yourself, these are also the prime times to ramp up your promotional efforts across social media and other marketing channels.

Add Additional Channels You Weren’t Utilizing

How are you choosing to communicate with your ICAs? Are you sticking to the occasional Instagram post and Facebook status update? If so, it may be time to add additional media channels into your marketing arsenal to improve your efforts. Over the last year alone, we’ve seen new video-based channels taking top priority with our clients. In most cases, this is because these short-form clips are more easily digestible and can quickly articulate to ICAs what they’re looking for.

New channels such as Tik Tok and Instagram Reels are becoming the more prominent outlets on the market. When looking at your current marketing plan, look for gaps in your content and problem solve how these new media channels can help bridge that gap. Another way to improve your current channels is to make them more engaging. For example, becoming more personalized with your email sequences can help build relationships with your ICAs and formulate trust that can help move them through your marketing funnel.

Hitting refresh on our marketing strategies can be a daunting task and will require all hands on deck, but in the end, it can be essential in plotting the effectiveness and future of your business. And while rehashing the past year may bring about some painful memories in the process, don’t forget to take a moment to breathe, recenter yourself, and remember all the accomplishments, both big and small.

2021 is yours for the taking!

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Most catering and events business owners fail at making money doing what they love because they don't know how to market themselves. Through her company, Flourish Marketing, Aleya offers marketing education, strategy, and tools that help wedding, catering, and events business owners stop staring at a blank calendar and start getting and keeping a consistent stream of clients. Aleya is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who also happens to be an award-winning, marketing strategist, brand manager, content developer, and storyteller. She has a background as a marketing executive on the leadership teams of large foodservice organizations and has also been a private chef and catering company owner. Aleya speaks your language and understands your challenges. She knows how important it is to work in your passion. That's why for the past 12 years, she has been focused on helping over 1,000 accounts, brands, and business owners to be successful. Aleya is a dynamic interpersonal communicator and presenter with the exceptional ability to inspire, motivate, and equip her audience. She loves opportunities to connect, help people develop, and create the space for her fellow entrepreneurs to see their visions manifest.

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