Happy Holidays to All!


I’ll be taking the next two weeks off from posting here, so I thought I’d take this last entry of 2011 to wish you all the Happiest of Holidays.

I hope that 2011 was successful for you all.

If not as much as you’d hoped, then I hope you’ve put plans and actions into place to make 2012 better.

I hope that 2012 brings you all health, happiness and success.

Finally, may you all have successful marketing strategies and may you achieve your business goals for 2012.

Evaluating What Works


I believe the most critical part of a marketing plan is evaluating the components to see what is working and how effectively it is working.

That means examining the results from the perspective of the desired objectives. I know plenty of business people who believe that their social media efforts have been successful because all they’re looking at is the number of “friends” and/or “followers” they’ve managed to amass. In terms of converting any of those people into realistic prospects, or, better yet, actual customers, most haven’t figured out how to do it. Does the sheer number of people who “like” you qualify the time, energy and resources spent on social media as a success? Absolutely, if your goal was to achieve numbers of followers. If your goal was to open up sales channels via social media and achieve $xx in sales due to this effort, then the evaluation method is, “Show me the money.”

If you’ve spent money on exhibiting at a trade show, but have no solid sales as a result, then the evaluation becomes why not? Was it the wrong trade show? Was your message not clear or not geared toward your target market? Were you sitting in the back of the booth waiting for someone to come up to you? Did you have a way to gather leads?

Evaluation is about:

  • examining what worked so you can implement the same thing, or a variation on a theme again.
  • figuring out what didn’t work.
  • deciding if what didn’t work needs to be eliminated or just tweaked for improved performance.
  • making the necessary changes and starting again.

Evaluation is not about:

  • making excuses. If something didn’t work, determine why it didn’t so the same problem doesn’t occur again.
  • placing blame. Yes, sometimes someone does drop the ball. Now it’s time to figure out if it’s a ball worth picking up and running with or if it’s time to call it a game and try something new. (OK, so sports metaphors not so much my thing.)
  • giving up. If something needs to be eliminated, so be it. Other options are open and should be considered.

Marketing techniques and theories abound. Evaluating what worked for you and what didn’t is about learning how to use your time, energy and resources to their best potential and to your best success.

Are You Ready for 2012?


If you’re still thinking of what to do to increase business in 2011, then you’re already late in planning for a successful 2012.

Marketing is an activity that is best done a minimum of 3 months out. In some cases, 2 or more years of active planning is a must. On the whole though, 3 – 6 months of bringing a plan to fruition is what it takes to see the goals we set become realities.

What does that mean for you?

If you haven’t started your marketing plan for 2012 yet, work it into your agenda for this week!

What’s the first step? Evaluate what worked and what didn’t in 2011. Tweak what can be tweaked, keep what did the job and get rid of anything else.

Second step? Well, since we’re starting so late: plan for your first quarter marketing needs before all else, because you may already need to implement some action steps for anything that you want accomplished in that timeframe.

Third step? Evaluate any new marketing tactics that you haven’t tried before. Maybe it’s time to hire a marketing consultant to evaluate what you’ve done and make recommendations for different approaches. Just because something works for your brother/neighbor/friend/competitor/business-next-door, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for you. There are new marketing technologies out there – do you know what they are and/or how to use them effectively? A fresh eye can see things that you may have overlooked – if it’s a professional marketing consultant’s eye, they may not only see it, but advise you on how to get the most bang from your buck/time/energy.

Fourth step? Put the plan together. Make sure that you include any trade shows, tabletop shows, events, advertising, mailings, e-mails, personal networking and other marketing avenues that you are pursuing. Develop a calendar so that these events don’t sneak up on you. If you calendar the event and then schedule backwards for all the prep work you need to do to get ready for them, you will project a better image with the finished product and usually save time, money and aggravation along the way.

Fifth step? Implement the plan.

Sixth step? Yes, folks, implementation is not the last step. Reviewing the plan on at least a quarterly basis and tweaking as necessary is the last step in the process.

OK, then. On your mark…. Get set… Plan for 2012!