Marketing: What’s Your Plan For 2012?

Marketing for 2012Don’t know?  Wondering if one of the various tails of Doomsday will come true?  Not good.

2012 is right around the corner and let’s just assume Doomsday forecasts are as accurate as the last Rapture when nothing happened.

But if you’re going to get better business results in 2012, you need to start planning your marketing right now.

No whining.  No rolling of the eyeballs.  Face facts and know that what I’m saying is right.

If your a retailer, you may still be waiting to see how 2011 turns out, but deep in your heart you already know if your business was performing the way you wanted well before the Holidays.  If you’re a sales person or in a service based business, you already know if you have enough clients or enough leads.

So how will your marketing efforts achieve better results next year?  Were you able to generate new customers, deliver better customer service, make higher profits?  Did you establish a social media presence for your business?

Whatever your goals were for 2011, here are a few questions to get you started on your 2012 marketing plan.  You want to begin by evaluating what worked and what didn’t and the reasons why.  This way  you’ll have a better idea of which marketing strategies will help you achieve your goals for next year and move you forward.

 Marketing Questions for 2012

1.  How close did you come to achieving your marketing goals and objectives for 2011? Were your goals specific, measurable, actionable, timely, reasonable?  Do they require more time, more effort, more money to be successful?

2.  What are your marketing goals and objectives for 2012?

3.  What percentage of your annual revenues did you spend on marketing in 2011?

4.  Will your marketing expenditures for 2012 increase, remain the same, or decrease?  Why?

5.  Of the number of hours you spent running your business in 2011, how many were actively involved in marketing of your business?  Was that enough time devoted to marketing to achieve your desired results?  If not, what steps can you take next year for devote more time to marketing?  What pieces of your business can you delegate so you can spend more time marketing?

6.  Which 2011 marketing strategies worked last year?  Which will you repeat in 2012 and why?

7.  Which 2011 marketing strategies didn’t work?  Why didn’t they?  Was the strategy wrong or was there something you could’ve done to achieve a better results?  Are any of these marketing strategies worthy of a second try?

8.  What new marketing strategies are you going to try in 2012 and why?

9.  Did you track the results of traditional media, social media and various combinations so you could determine which worked best?

10.  Did you achieve your social media goals and objectives?  What role will your social media on other online marketing efforts play in 2012?

11.  Did you cross-promote and integrate your social media and into your traditional marketing efforts?

12.  How is your web site?  Is it up-to-date?  Are there items you could add that would enhance your site for visitors?

13.  How many PR releases did you submit to targeted media during 2011? Was that sufficient?  Were you able to leverage these releases in your online marketing efforts?  Did you miss some publicity opportunities?

14.  Has your competition increased, decreased, remained the same?  Are there new forms of competition that are impacting your sales?

15.  Are your customers’ buying habits, behaviors or demographics changing?  If so, how?  How do these changes impact your business and what steps can you take to take advantage of these changes or dilute any negative impacts?

16.  How would you rate your customer service for 2011?  Are there additional customer service steps you could take that would make a difference in the minds of your customers?

17.  How are others in your community or industry doing?  Are there opportunities for joint ventures for 2012?

Spend some time thinking and answering these questions.  Don’t assume anything.  Go through your records and actually graph out your sales, plot your promotions, measure the number of friends, followers and connections to see what did and didn’t work.  This is the only way you’ll start focusing on marketing efforts that really work.

Now, go, get to it!

There is no time to waste.

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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