Did you make the grade?
Go back and look at your strategic marketing plan for this year. How have you been doing? Are you on target or did you miss the mark? What grade would you give yourself and/or your team?
October is a perfect time to review your current plan. Why October? Because it is time to start writing your 2012 plan! Don’t wait until December or worse, next year – start now.
Take a realistic, objective look at marketing campaigns and tactics that have produced the desired results this year (I hope you have been reviewing and revising campaigns/ tactics throughout the year). Successful strategies should be incorporated into your new plan.
It is equally important to take a look at the marketing campaigns and tactics that have not performed well. Don’t keep doing the same thing over again if it is not producing results.
This will go a long way in helping you create a plan for 2012 that is achievable and effective. If you start planning now you will be much more prepared for the New Year. It is almost here!
More tips on strategic planning coming up soon…
Are you ready?
The Christmas Season will be here before you know it. The Channel Advisor planning calendar for 2011 identified the following as the Top 10 online shopping days from 2010.
- Monday, November 28 (Cyber Monday)
- Friday, November 25 (Black Friday)
- Monday, December 12 (Green Monday)
- Monday, December 5
- Tuesday, December 6
- Thursday, December 24
- Tuesday, December 13
- Wednesday, December 14
- Thursday, December 15
- Wednesday, December 7
In this economy Ecommerce sites need to get creative to gain the attention of frugal shoppers. Knowing ahead of time what the most profitable days are during the season can help narrow your focus and plan accordingly. From a strategic perspective, plan for major promotions during these days to maximize your 2011 Holiday revenue.
What is holding you back?
Each of us has at least one thing that holds us back from reaching the “next level”. The next level is different for each of us personally and professionally.
In working with and talking to many small business owners and entrepreneurs I see some of these obstacles repeatedly. This is a great exercise for me to look at my own business and think critically about what is holding me back from my next level.
- Complacency – complacency is a killer. If you are complacent you are moving backward.
- Fear – fear can immobilize you and keep you stuck.
- Hesitation – hesitation can be good until you can make an informed decision. Many hesitate out of fear and we know where that gets you.
- Snap decisions – while hesitation can immobilize you, making snap decisions bring your company down in the blink of an eye.
- Lack of balance – having a balance between work and your personal life is a key element to success. It seems that lack of balance catches some people early in life and for others it takes years. I find myself in the middle years – I pray I choose to continue striving for balance.
- Lack of planning – business plans, marketing plans and operational plans are critical for business success. Plans no longer have to be 50 page tomes that no one will read much less follow, but plans are still necessary.
- Lack of flexibility – plans are important. SO is flexibility. Plans are not chiseled in stone (they should not be). Whatever plans you make will change. If you expect this up front and can “go with the flow” you are less likely to hit other obstacles such as fear, hesitation or snap decisions.
I could go on and on. There are so many obstacles. What obstacles are you facing and, more importantly, how are you overcoming them? I’d love to hear your success stories and your struggles.
Happy New Year!
May your New Year be filled with…
- Passion for your work
- Passion for your clients
- And a passion for life and family
- Effective communication between your team and your clients
- Effective communication between you and your team
- And effective communication in all you relationships
Got a strategy?
So did you start on your 2011 marketing strategy yet? If you are staring at a blank slate consider these points:
- Start small – you don’t have to have a 20 page plan
- Start with a goal – what do you want to achieve in the new year?
- Certain quantity of new proposals, leads, clients, web site visitors, etc.
- Select the marketing venue to help you achieve the goals you set
- Consult a marketing coach to help you
Here are some additional previous posts I’ve written related to marketing planning. I hope you find them useful.
Uh…I don’t have a Marketing Plan
Marketing Plans – Phase it In
Marketing Plan – Make Your Outline
You can do it! Start now.
It’s December 3, 2010. Have you written your marketing plan for 2011? Did you review and revise your 2010 plan to make it more effective at some point throughout the year?
There are many different places I could go with an opening paragraph like this. Today I am going to focus on the opportunities small business owners miss if they do not have a marketing strategy.
Many small business owners tend to think they don’t need a marketing strategy. Many more believe that to have one it must be a massive effort that takes a great deal of time and money.
Without a marketing plan or strategy here is what you could be missing:
- New clients
- Additional revenue from existing clients
- Additional web site traffic
- Opportunities to hear from, and learn from, your clients
- Opportunities to build your brand
Is a marketing strategy a key element missing from your organization?
Food for thought..
I got 20 of my friends to buy from you and told 20 more about your company…
Every small business owner would love to hear words like this. A key element to increasing brand awareness is through word of mouth (WOM). An excellent way to perpetuate word of mouth from a ground-up effort is through brand ambassadors or brand advocates.
What is that, you ask? A brand ambassador is a person is very knowledgeable about the brand, promotes it regularly and publicly in a positive way. Many large corporations hire brand ambassadors to promote their products or brand. This however is not what I am talking about. Small business owners are not going to hire brand ambassadors, nor should they.
You have brand ambassadors among your customers, clients and staff. Whether your company sells consumer products or services (B2C) or to other companies (B2B) you may already have natural brand ambassadors. You are looking for people who are already passionate about your product.
Where do I look? Potential brand ambassadors could be:
- The person who buys from you every week
- That person who can’t stop talking about how good your customer service is
- That person who has sent you three clients in the last month
- That person who was significantly impacted by your product or service
These are your brand ambassadors. They are already loyal to your brand. The challenge is finding ways to help them use their voice to convey their passion for your brand.
Here are some ideas of how to motivate them to talk about their passion for your brand. Obviously not every tactic will work for your company but hopefully this will get the creative juices flowing.
- Give them free product for themselves
- Give them free product to share with their friends
- Send them several branded t-shirts or other promotional items
- Create a customer input panel on a specific topic
- This will allow your most loyal customers to be part of the company
- Print them brand advocate business cards they can hand out to their friends – inlcude a special discount available only through your ambassadors
- Allow a select few to be guest bloggers on your corporate blog
Successful small business owners recognize win/win relationships. Creating a formal or informal brand ambassador program can help to significantly increase brand awareness. As always if you need help in creating a brand ambassador program contact your marketing coach for help.
Throwing up a Facebook page is not a strategy
Even a great Facebook page by itself is not a strategy. It is a component of your Social Media plan which is only one component of your overall marketing strategy
There have been many bloggers recently talking about examples of great Facebook pages. Check out this blogger’s Top 35 list from July 30. Most are well-known brands with deeper pockets than the average small business but that does not mean pages for small businesses have to be boring.
Included on this list is BlackBerry. I like their page because it integrates a tool accessible to everyone: YouTube. A small business could incorporate a YouTube video and some well done graphics to create an attractive, dynamic Facebook page.
As mentioned frequently in this blog, if you need help with your marketing strategy, including your Facebook page, contact a marketing coach/professional. They can help you create and execute a solid strategy and help you avoid the pitfalls of going down the wrong path.
I am continually looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of Facebook. If you have a success story to share please post a comment.
Always looking to improve…