You need a marketing plan for 2010!

It has been a challenging year for everyone as few of us have been untouched by economic changes and a global recession. A lot has changed, and while some things will return to the way they were, others have changed forever.

Take the time to evaluate your business and your opportunities.

If there has ever been a time when you should be preparing a marketing plan for the new year, this is the time. Creating a marketing plan requires you to really assess your company as well as clarify your business objectives. It is not something to be done quickly and you should plan some time away from your daily business activities to really turn your attention to the big picture.

Here are some questions to start the process:
  • what are my major business objective(s) for 2010?
  • how is my brand doing in today's economy?
  • what changes in the marketplace are affecting my product/service?
  • is my current audience the same?
  • are there new audiences for my product/service?
  • what message will ring true and show the benefits of my product/service?
  • what media will best reach my audience?

Having a marketing plan will guide your decisions and use of resources.

You may think it is futile to make a plan in the midst of so much change. None of us can predict the future and no one knows what will be happening 12 months from now. But consider the fact that without a plan you are at the mercy of whatever comes along. You can only react to the marketplace. With a plan in place you can steer your company in the direction you have chosen, even if course adjustments need to be made along the way. By having a plan you can allocate your resources to the projects of greatest priority. A marketing plan will also clarify the goals of your business to your staff and associates. We can't expect other people to be on board with an objective if we have not made that objective clear to them. The first step in successfully making progress is the ability to determine and visualize the end result. Once you do that, each decision can be made within the framework of "does this bring us towards our goal?"

Evaluate your current situation and determine your future objectives.

Think about the type of growth you want for the coming years (3-5 years). If we define growth as "the process of increasing in amount, value or importance" then your business is most likely addressing some issue of growth. Your business, at this moment, sits at a point along its own unique timeline, with a specific number of years in business, a certain level of business maturity and its own history of successes and failures.

Your business also has changing objectives based on: the products and services you can currently offer, the skills of your people, your available technology, company resources, changing needs in the marketplace, and your company's business goals and ambitions. There are a lot of issues involved, and when you factor in the recession, you have an even more complex situation to evaluate.

Use multichannel marketing to reach current and potential clients.

Business growth can only be achieved through successful multichannel marketing. Marketing is more than a brochure, an advertisement or a website. It is the complete process of defining objectives, analyzing the marketplace, finding an audience, creating a strategy and implementing that strategy with gusto. Using every available marketing channel will help you reach your target audience.

I encourage you to start on your marketing plan today. It doesn't need to be a fancy document but it does require serious thought and evaluation. Take the time to gain clarity and purpose for the year ahead.

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