Planning for 2011

Can you believe the year is more than half way over? Time has flown by and many businesses have either sustained their revenues or experienced a decline. A few lucky ones even saw growth! What’s up with that?

Many of you may already be looking ahead to 2011 in terms of budgeting and strategic planning. If you’re one of these people, congratulations! Effective and strategic planning is imperative to growing a successful business, and it doesn’t happen over night. There are so many different variables to consider.

We continue to face a challenging economy, but things are looking better. Slowly, but sure enough! We’ve all have had to make sacrifices in our personal and business lives. Whether that means eating in more or redistributing our budgets, we are all making changes.

As businesses continue to look into how to operate on low budgets, some may be tempted to back off (even more in some cases) of their marketing and advertising budgets. I say, not so fast!

This as a unique opportunity for your company to take a step back and evaluate the way you are spending your money. Here are some questions you should be asking to help you decide whether you are spending your money wisely.

Is your marketing strategy relevant for the current climate?
Reflect on your strategy and decide if it’s appropriate for the current climate. Sometimes you need to alter your message to fit what the current consumer needs to hear. Since their wants and needs are changing to fit the economy, your message should evolve with them.

Do you have a clear vision of what you would like to accomplish?
Sometimes it is as simple as discovering whether or not you have a clear vision of what you are trying to convey to the consumer. This is a good chance to step back and add clarity to what you are trying to accomplish with your communication plan. Without a clear vision, it is impossible to set and meet your goal.

Are you making good use of emerging technologies?
Technology is constantly evolving. Your marketing efforts should do the same. As technology advances, it’s important to utilize advancing technology efficiently. There are several different types of social media emerging as major tools to communicate with a broad range of consumers. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made building personal relationships with consumers easier than ever.

Ask yourself these questions and reflect back on what you have been trying to accomplish. How will you will communicate more efficiently next year? Pulling away from marketing must only be a last resort. Even if it feels like a quick fix; it will only hurt your company’s long-term success.

Marketing is an investment, not an expense.