To start off on the right foot in 2010, here are 5 common
mistakes to avoid, when building your marketing plan for the year:
Be wary of joining the social marketing
frenzy. As I have said in the past, social marketing is an additional
marketing channel through which you can connect with customers. It is not a
completely new way of marketing. So much trash has been written about social
marketing lately that it is easy to get caught up in the euphoria of “free social
marketing.” It’s not free, and like other channels, if not used properly, it
will not produce positive results.
On a similar note, resist the
urge to devote too much time to “grass roots marketing.” One newsletter I
recently received suggested that marketers “blog their brains out” in 2010.
This doesn’t sound like a good program to me.
Instead, concentrate on developing solid value propositions, targeting
your customers, and crafting your messages carefully. Then figure out how to
get the word out…via social marketing channels as well as conventional
channels. Don’t rely on the channel to develop the message.
I have always found it wise to “front
load” your marketing program so that you have a busy set of activities
during the first half of the year. This
way, if things go well, you will be able to continue, and perhaps expand your
program. If things don’t go well, you will still be able to complete a solid set
of activities to meet your personal and your company’s goals.
Devote time and effort to experiment
with new tactics and service providers. Last year, for example, I found
that Jigsaw (www.jigsaw.com) was a better
source for email addresses than some of my other lists, while Facebook proved
to be ineffective for my marketing needs. Since the landscape is constantly
shifting, you need to be constantly trying new things. Run pilot programs to
test your ideas “under the radar,” before devoting significant time and money
to new projects.
Make sure your annual goals are
aligned with corporate goals and that these goals are highly-visible. On a
related note, even if you are not asked to do so, build, maintain and
distribute a high-level timeline and tracking document so that your marketing program
is completely transparent. Managers and other people in the company often wonder
where all those marketing dollars go. Make it easy for them to see the value
your program brings to the company. I will try to write more about this in an