As happens every year, people around the world are making (and unfortunately already) breaking their resolutions for 2009. Most of the time, we find that as we do this, we’re hard pressed to keep up with drastic lifestyle changes or new fresh decisions on how to manage our businesses. Marketing is no exception.
In addition to viewing the new year as a fresh clean slate, it’s important to look back at the previous year and examine what worked and what didn’t. This enables you to set reasonable goals and expectations based on what we learned in 2008.
In the next few weeks I’ll be addressing some trends and ideas in marketing that you may want to keep in mind as you put together marketing plans for your business.
Marketing is not always, and should not be expected to be, ‘instant’. Does anyone remember that commercial a few years ago where the small company made their website live and instantly started receiving hits? Then quickly, they realized they were in over their heads and everything turned from ‘fun’ to scary? I have clients mention that commercial to me several times a year, all of them saying that they’re afraid to have that happen. They don’t want to end up over their heads. So they don’t proceed with marketing plans, afraid to step out. On the flip side of that, I’ve also had clients who have dropped my services after just a week or two because they didn’t receive the instant gratification. They were expecting results similar to those of the commercial.
Both of these approaches to marketing will backfire for you and your company and do you more harm than good. For those who are afraid to venture forth because they don’t want to be overwhelmed, a good solid marketing company will take into account your budget, what you can and can’t offer to clients and work within those parameters to ensure you have the best marketing plan to suit your needs. They will partner with you to manage expectations, and help assist you in both defining your marketing plan and dealing with business growth based from that plan. They will be your support team so you won’t be alone in what can sometimes be a frightening and nerve wracking venture. And remember, no marketing company should ever push your company beyond its limitations financially. With the abundance of marketing possibilities in today’s environment, everyone, no matter how large or small their budget may be, has some marketing potential that they can leverage.
At the same time, if you’re looking for instant gratification, you’ll be disappointed. No matter how large, prestigious or promising the marketing company sounds, no one is going to be able to offer you the ‘instant’ of the aforementioned commercial without a huge financial layout. Social networking, blogging, and other ‘instant’ forms of communication are invaluable tools, but they never promise ‘instant’ results. Hiring a company to do marketing for you and then letting them go because you haven’t seen enough ‘solid’ results in the first week or two is a huge mistake. First, you could end up bouncing from company to company to company and never really gaining anything of value. It takes time to build a relationship, settle into the core audience, and find what works. Second, you could be inappropriately assigning success to the wrong things. If you hire a company that puts a marketing plan into place, then move to another plan in just a few weeks, the success you’re seeing may be a false success. You could be seeing results from the first company’s work and incorrectly assume that it’s coming from the second company’s plan. This can set you and your business on a course that will take you away from the success you’re seeking.
As you look to establish new goals for 2009, remember to manage your expectations and keep your goals attainable. Doing this will help you keep a better perspective on how to grow your business and keep moving toward the success you envision!