Your Marketing Strategy for 2012 — Avoid 10 Common Pitfalls in the New Year

When prospective clients ask me how to achieve visibility for their new or existing business, I generally make similar recommendations.  My advice would also apply to managers with nonprofit organizations, associations, and government agencies, as well.

Although my advice is sound and practical, I struggle with convincing some people of the value of my recommendations.

When planning and executing marketing strategies, the biggest and most preventable mistakes I observe are

(1) Skimping on needed marketing and public relations activities, even when the resources are available and the services are affordable.  I have never seen a client who spent too much money or too much time on marketing.

(2) Failing to create or stick to even the most basic marketing and public relations plan.  Being disorganized in their business practices.

(3) Postponing sales-generating marketing tactics when their business is doing well.

(4) Neglecting to update their websites, social media platforms, and public relations and marketing materials — sometimes for several years.

(5) Procrastinating until the last minute to launch promotions or public relations outreach. Not understanding the amount of time it takes to build a campaign.

(6) Abandoning marketing efforts before they have a chance to obtain results.  Having unrealistic expectations.

(7) Fearing to make a change, or try a new tactic.  Refusing to consider new options that are working well for their competitors, from a lack of familiarity with those options.

(8) Omitting the important step of reviewing and measuring their past efforts, a step that would help inform their goals and decisions.

(9) Disregarding the value of informed, external opinions and constructive criticism, even from customers.  Clients can’t always “see” that their website looks disorganized, or that their marketing materials are outdated and ineffective. They are too “close” to it.

(10) Assuming too much.  Taking on too many projects at once, or attempting too ambitious a project.  It’s better to keep it simple, and sustained.

No one is perfect.  Everyone lapses on following through on marketing plans sometimes.  The important thing to identify now is: reviewing these pitfalls, can you see whether you put obstacles in the way of your success?  Can you identify any patterns?  Did you do the best you could do, or did you let fear, disorganization, or unrealistic expectations hold you back?

Looking back at 2011, what could you have done differently?  What can you do differently in 2012?

My message for sole proprietors, businesses and nonprofits as we move into 2012 is this: you can’t complain that no one asked you to dance if you didn’t bother to put on your best clothes, or even come to the dance.

You have to make an effort if you want to see results.  And that effort usually involves an investment of resources.  It will cost something, but if your business model is sound, or your nonprofit organization is worthy, wise marketing choices will make a difference.

Marketing works when you work it.  There is no magic to marketing or public relations, and there are very few shortcuts.  Marketing your business or nonprofit takes effort and dedication, over time.

The end of the year is a time to regroup and plan.  Now is the time to analyze your position, look at what your competitors are doing, and measure the results of your past efforts.  It is time to set actionable goals, create a plan, and dedicate a budget to making that plan happen.  You need to decide what you will handle yourself, what you will delegate to staff, and what you will contract out to smart, hard-working people who can help you.

Best wishes to you for a prosperous new year.

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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on December 20, 2011, in Client/Agency Relationship, Marketing Tips, Nonprofit Marketing Tips, small business marketing tips and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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