Okay I will admit that ever since the 4th of July it seems like time is flying by! In fact, I am pretty sure that Labor Day was just a few days ago, and already we are in to October – before you know it we will be raking leaves and even shoveling snow.
But wait a minute – before we get too carried away, it still is 3 months before the start of 2012, and surely that means we still have plenty of time to contemplate our budgets and plan for the future – right?
Actually, I really do not think it is too early to start your planning now. The way the last few years have gone and considering how slow the economy is recovering, I believe it is more critical than ever to proactively begin to plan your strategies. Time to re-evaluate what has worked and not worked over the past few years – look for new vertical markets – objectively look at your existing client base to determine if it might be time to actually cut ties with those that are not profitable, etc.
Part of this urgency lies in the fact that this planning will take some time, and, that for new plans to be realized early on in 2012, you need to begin prospecting now! It is pretty common for new account development to take 4 to 6 months – even more for some industries. Your plans need to allow for this and you need to have a clear strategy that allows for at least 6 to 8 to 10 different “touches” – and preferably using different media forms to have the most impact.
I also believe that the outlook for recovery is looking more and more like a 3 – 5 year stretch. Which means we all need to “hunker down” with a strong commitment to our plans. If you say you want to send out an e-mail to clients every month, then make sure someone on your team is responsible. Another good idea might be to do more follow-up with your most active clients/donors – maybe with a personalized newsletter that includes information unique to their market or interest. Again – determine who is going to make this happen and have it become part of their regular routine.
And don’t forget to prospect either – perhaps with specialized landing pages that include a specific offer. This concept will become much more common place in the coming year and could be a strong application to consider. If your market is consumer based, then easily the best way to find a targeted list is through direct mail – just be sure to use this to drive them online for tracking and follow-up.
Those organizations that push themselves to implement a strong marketing plan will undoubtedly be the ones to prosper over time. Now is the time to commit yourself to this, and to seek out assistance with trusted resources – so give us a call!