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5 Predictions to Guide Your Marketing Plan in 2017 You'll need to get quicker and more agile. And then you'll have to tap into the power of already-established, credible voices within the communities you hope to capture.

By Ellie Martin

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Paul Bradbury | Getty Images

There's never been a better time to be a trep. That's because the ability to sell and create brand awareness never has been more robust. At the same time, this is the worst time for entrepreneurial marketers to sell products and services. Consumers are more fickle-minded and more distracted than ever before. Brands and marketers alike face the bigger challenge of capturing the consumer's attention without breaking the marketing budget.

Related Book: The Marketing Plan Handbook by Robert W. Bly

Here are five predictions to keep in mind as you prepare and finalize your marketing plan for the coming year.

1. Consumers will prefer convenient online transactions.

Millennials will buy through Instagram shops or Amazon. Boomers will continue to buy from the comfort of their homes, relying on television and newspapers. Shoppers are shoppers, and they'll still come out to stores.

In 2017, maximize product sales and fend off the competition by being more than a Google advertiser or an Amazon seller. Cater to the way consumers want to buy, recommends Charlie Fusco -- CEO and creative visionary of Synergixx, a marketing and media agency. "2017 will be about making customers feel comfortable about your purchasing your product/service, however they prefer. Start reworking your marketing channels now."

2. TV isn't going away.

You've heard people say, "Everything is going online. In a year, no one will order anything on television or in a store: It all will be an app on your phone." That's simply not true. Millennials are changing buying behavior and that necessarily influences how we market. But millennials alone aren't powerful enough to break old habits.

Consider that Baby Boomers and older generations have been watching TV for 50 years and listening to radio even longer. They trust these media, and they've created habits around each. These consumers seek the credibility of a celebrity testimonial. A fancy new app, Facebook livestream or Instagram post isn't going to nudge their comfort levels. Google any product name. You'll find 10 or 20 products, each offering a better deal and a better price. Which brand or company do you trust? Credibility is how a brand thrives.

Related: 5 Ways to Effectively Market to Baby Boomers

In 2017, look to use TV as a credibility driver for direct sales, online traffic and retail engagement. "A client will come to Synergixx and they may already have a product in stores, on television or on Amazon," Fusco says. "We step in and come up with marketing strategies and advertising campaigns that allow them to generate more customers for less money. How do we accomplish this? TV infomercials, personal endorsements, national talk radio hosts, Facebook and video ads. Our business is built around adding customers to the bottom line. We analyze a client's budget, and from there we create and deliver."

3. You won't be able to afford crunching numbers only at year's end.

Be adamant about knowing your business' numbers. Marketers very often are so excited about selling the product they forget about the important costs and metrics that determine success.

Do you know and understand the impact of your media costs, your customer acquisition costs, the customers repurchase rate and the lifetime customer value (LCV) against your cost of goods?

I recommend entrepreneurs understand these number sets or give good estimates against their values before committing to any sales channel or marketing budget. Break down those numbers, and the math will reveal how you can get into marketing channels you never thought you could afford.

Related: 8 Ways to Avoid Cash-Flow Surprises That Could Kill Your Business

4. The focus will be on lifetime customer value, not attracting new clients.

There's that phrase again: lifetime customer value (LCV). Every prospect has an LCV that represents how much money he or she will spend with your business. LCV is the backbone of any product-driven business. Somewhere, people are wanting and willing to make a purchase. It doesn't matter whether you're a lawyer or a pitch wizard selling steak knives on TV for $19.95 apiece.

Be sure you ask these critical questions:

  • What is your customer's LCV?
  • Do you know where that number stops? It is in your direct database, in retail or online?
  • When do you give up on that customer?
  • How can you increase LCV?

It's cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. Don't "gamble in Vegas," as the saying goes. You can't establish a budget on Day One without knowing how much money that customer is going to generate for you 18 months from now. Work your LCV into your cash-flow models. Then determine the most profitable advertising channels based on LCV, not Day-One revenue.

5. Influencers will keep their status.

If you're launching a new product or service, think about where a buying community exists. Who are the major influencers? If you're selling to moms, for example, identify a few established Facebook or Instagram communities and seek to partner with their largest contributing voice. Financial products or aging products should be in communities centered around personalities from political-news radio channels. Don't pay for tweets. Cut through the clutter by attaching your product to celebrities and voices that speak to controlled communities.

Ellie Martin

Co-founder of Startup Change Group

Ellie Martin is Co-founder of Startup Change Group. As author and writer, her works have been featured on Entrepreneur, Yahoo! , Wisebread and AOL, among others. She currently splits her time between her home office in New York and Israel.

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