For companies whose financial year runs January to December, it might well be about now they are starting to plan for 2013. In the marketing department, however, the reality is that sometimes planning isn’t as joined up as it should be. The events team will have their plans, the product marketing teams will also know what they want to do, the PR teams will be working on their own initiatives – and there’s no guarantee that everything will align.

When the marketing activity is being implemented, we often see that everything comes together around something like a big industry event, but for the rest of the year it is just as likely that things aren’t really aligned. The PR team might be in the press talking about a new trend, whereas webinars are being run on a totally different topic, and eMarketing communications might be discussing a new product launch.

However, this multitude of messaging can often end up causing confusion.

The reality is that you can never have everything completely aligned, there will always be new issues that arise throughout the year. But for the activity you can plan, it makes a real difference if timing coincides.

Take a topic that is hot in the market at the moment – BYOD. Perhaps that will be your ‘marketing theme’ for January and February (as you have a product launch at the end of January and an event in February that it is relevant for). You could then plan other activity, so nearly everything the market hears from you in those two months is about BYOD.

You might plan to write a white paper, turn it into a series of articles for the PR campaign, schedule three or four webinars on BYOD, launch the results of the survey, focus on BYOD on your stand, and do a customer and prospect email and telemarketing initiative. Nobody will be left in any doubt that if they are looking for a solution for BYOD, it is your company they should be talking to.

If, instead, you talk a bit about three or four different issues or topics in that period of time, then you risk diluting your message and losing that strong association with one issue.

And don’t forget – you can always highlight one issue in one country or vertical market sector, but do another issue elsewhere if just one focus isn’t right for you. What is important is clarity and consistency, and making sure you get your name out there associated with all the right subjects.

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