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New Year, New Marketing Strategy

Thanksgiving has barely passed, and yet planning for 2012 is already overdue. But it’s not too late to treat your marketing strategy to a much-needed makeover. All of the fresh starts and New Year’s resolutions that accompany a brand new year make it a great time to implement a new and improved marketing strategy. So forget the old standard resolution to lose weight. Instead, decide that 2012 is the year you’ll trim the fat on your marketing strategy. Read on for five steps to your 2012 marketing strategy assessment.

Articulate Your Goals
How will you craft a more effective marketing strategy if you don’t know what you’re working toward? Go over your business plan to identify areas to which marketing can contribute. Check your current marketing strategy for any tactics that aren’t related to those goals. Revise your strategy to ensure that it’s doing exactly what you need it to.

Pinpoint Weak Spots
Improving your marketing strategy according to your business’ goals naturally leads to addressing weaknesses. Recognize the areas that need a little help and market the company with those in mind. If your company needs to increase visibility, adjust your marketing plan to do just that—focus on word-of-mouth initiatives, customer rewards and SEO. If client retention is far from your strong suit, plan customer loyalty programs and invest in advertising that promotes your excellent customer service.

Know Your Audience
Before you can woo your audience into buying your product or subscribing to your service, you’ve got to really know them. Can you paint a picture of who would buy your product? Do you know how much they’re willing to pay? What does it take to convince them? Answer these questions and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Measure Up
The tighter the money, the more careful the consumer. Get used to the fact that when consumers spend less, they scrutinize your business and your product more carefully than ever. Does your marketing strategy speak to your expertise and your company’s credibility? If not, what can you do to fix that? Maybe it’s spotlighting testimonials of happy customers, or rewarding customers who refer leads. Maintain a content-rich website and develop a PR strategy to showcase your trustworthiness and persuade the tight-fisted to bite the buying bullet.

Know the difference
Your business plan and your marketing plan are two completely different tools. The former describes the whole of your business—your customers, your budget and your goals. A far more focused document, the marketing strategy, consists of the concrete steps your business takes to achieve the goals in your business plan. Both tools work best when they’re separate but in harmony.

Guide your marketing strategy revisions according to these five considerations, and you and your business will have more to celebrate next year. Get to it!