Traditionally, launching a new year is time to take stock, make a few resolutions, and determine how to improve business and ourselves during the next 12 months.
Who am I to fly in the face of tradition?
So here are my top 10 ways for improving your marketing and communication efforts during 2015. Businesses, this is my gift to you.
1. Clearly define your marketing goals.
Everything you do is measured by where you're going and how you plan to get there. Without clearly defined marketing goals, your business is rudderless. You will be sailing in circles. You need goals and those goals should be more than “making a profit”. They should address the “how” of how you're going to be successful.
2. Invest in your marketing.
Your competition is doing that. Don't be beat by your competition. You will be if you don't have a budget to communicate effectively. Your messages won't get out there or if they do, they won't resonate against your competitors'. Some businesses cut back on marketing during tough economic times. Others ramp up, knowing that there will be less clutter for them to break through. Don't fall into the wrong camp by letting the competition drive the market.
3. Review your current efforts.
Are your communication strategies on target? What is working? What isn't working and why not? Should you be looking for improvements or trying something new? If you don't know, you probably have a problem. Many businesses do the same thing over and over because that's the way it's always been done. How did that work for dinosaurs? It won't work any better for businesses.
4. Resolve to address at least one significant aspect of your overall marketing with thought and planning throughout the entire year.
If you feel you don't have the time or resources to address all of your marketing/communication, try taking it a piece at a time.
Closely manage that one piece throughout the entire year. You'll be surprised what happens when you focus attention.
5. Dust off your current marketing/communication plan.
Don't have one? Neither did those dinosaurs in Tip 3. Without a comprehensive plan, there's no way to know if you're on track or making the best choices for your business. Without a plan, you're betting that everything will magically work out for the best. Not a great way to run a business.
6. Discuss your needs with professionals.
Second opinions can expand horizons. Marketing/communication professionals have expertise, perspectives and ideas to help you focus the big picture.
7. Resolve to review and update your website regularly.
Websites are where most people are now turning for information all aspects of a business. Ever-advancing technology mandates that your website always be current with user expectations. Staying relevant and attuned to your target audiences is critical, no matter what technology they may be using.
8. Consider networking opportunities.
Trade associations, chambers of commerce and professional organizations all offer education and networking opportunities. Most people do business with people they know. Networking is critical to businesses knowing and becoming known. Staying current in the minds of current and potential clients/customers and helping them understand all nuances of your business pays dividends.
9. Ask for feedback.
See yourself as others see you. Surveys, focus groups and follow-up calls are great ways to tap into customer/client perceptions and feelings.
10. Resist “trendy” traps.
Effective communication is rooted in research, goals and strategies. Glitzy technologies are just new tools.. Use them strategically in the context of your overall marketing/communication plan. Don't be blinded by bling.
Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising.
Visit www.comm-concepts.com or call 303-651-6612.