2011 is just around the bend. Are you ready?

As we move into the final quarter of 2010, it’s time to start thinking about how to capture new market share and enhance our relationship with existing customers for the upcoming year. As our economy continues to slowly recover, incredible opportunities are available to those who are maintaining relationships and cultivating new ones.

It’s a simple fact (read ‘opportunity’) that when people become more confident in the economy and their personal job security, their ability and desire to spend will increase. The businesses and organizations that have remained diligent in staying in front of their clients and prospects will be rewarded.

If you don’t want to be left behind in the upcoming year, it’s time to get planning! Here are some tips for success:

Do your research.
Next year, the hospitalities industry is expected to see its first year of growth in four years. That’s just one small sector of the market. What it means to everyone is that the New Year will yield opportunities for many and it’s time to do some homework and figure out what will happen in the coming months in your industry. With the proper research about you’re your industry, your competition, and the potential buyer of your product or service you’ll have a good start towards how to plan your marketing and PR program.

Ditch what didn’t work last year!
The last several years have brought a sea change in the way we market. Not the least of which is in the use of online marketing techniques. Just a few years ago, the only way to gain market share was expensive mass media (i.e.: TV, newspaper, radio, outdoor). Now social media is one of the biggest players in online marketing—what a shift!

So, what did your online strategy look like this year? I hope it was different than in 2008. And I can assure you that it needs to be different in 2011. Things change rapidly on the internet, which is why it’s important to take a look at the strategies that worked last year—and the ones that didn’t—and make some choices. Remember, what worked a few years ago may not be the best use of your time/money now.

Integrated Marketing Plan
Of course, it’s important to get up and running in the world of social media, and maybe you already have, but have you developed an integrated marketing program that incorporates your social media strategy? I’m not talking about setting up a Facebook Page and waiting for some to “like” you. I’m talking about integrating all of your online social media strategies with your traditional (Advertising, PR, Direct Mail, Trade Shows, etc.) and new media (websites, banner ads, SEO, PPC programs, e-mail marketing) communication channels.

Social media is a great new tool in the tool box, but without an integrated approach to your marketing program it’s like having one leg of a three legged stool. The most important advice is to plan your plan and work your plan.

Consider outsourcing
With the right marketing, you can maximize your exposure to the audience you’re trying to reach. With so many options and tools available, consider whether you would benefit from outsourcing your marketing strategy. You could save yourself time and money in the long run by working with an agency that specializes in an integrated marketing solution. *coughs* SRJ Marketing Communications *coughs*