The Year Is Winding Down

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Yes, it’s that time of year where more and more people are thinking less and less about business and are really starting to look forward to the holidays and a fresh beginning in 2014.

I hope that this past year has brought you the success you’ve wished for, and, more importantly, health and happiness in abundance.

I hope that you’re ready for 2014 to take off with a bang and just keep going.

Are You Ready for 2014?

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Last week, 3 people asked me when my next “Developing a Strategic Marketing Plan” seminar is going to be. I told them that I offer that particular seminar every year in September, because that’s the time to start the planning process for the following year. I don’t offer it any later than that because, if someone hasn’t already started working on their marketing plan for next year by October, then they generally need more personalized assistance then a seminar can give them and a private consultation is more in order.

I’ve said this often in this forum – advance planning is a huge portion of any successful marketing plan or campaign.

The most tangible example of this is the client who wanted to order 250 imprinted pens for an upcoming event and, oh yeah, it’s 3 days away. We got it done and delivered the day before the event so that they’d have it at 8 am the next day for distribution. Not really a big deal, except for one little, really very insignificant detail: Instead of the shipping costing about $20 to go ground, we had to overnight ship it to meet the deadline. The final shipping cost for a 6 pound package shipped cross-country overnight? $342.58. The actual product cost for the 250 pens? $220, including setup fees. If they’d planned in advance, they could either have saved $320 in shipping costs, or doubled the number of pens they received for what they paid in overnight shipping costs.

Don’t look unprepared, or end up paying too much. Marketing should be an investment in business growth, not an added expense because things weren’t planned out properly or because of last-minute rush charges.

So, are you ready with a marketing plan for 2014? If not, what the heck are you waiting for?

Marketing vs. Selling

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I was discussing our local Chamber yesterday with someone when I mentioned that our Chamber knows how to sell, but not how to market.

Not sure what that means? Think that selling and marketing are the same? No, they’re not.

Selling is one spoke of the marketing umbrella. Really, it’s almost the final step in the marketing process – the only thing that comes after the sale is the post-sale follow-up.

Since sales are what bring in the money, why should selling not be the only marketing strategy that you use? Well, people need to know that you exist and what products and/or services you have available to sell. That is where marketing comes in – it’s all about getting the message out there to the right people in the right way so that they choose to buy.

It’s much easier to make money when people are choosing/wanting/eager to buy rather than you having to sell to them. Don’t you want to set up a system where you are driving people to you asking for more information and how to buy rather than a system where you’re always trying to talk someone into making the purchase?

That’s what a good overall marketing plan that is well-executed will do for you – drive the buyers to you.