Use the “Dog Days” to Rethink Your Marketing Strategy
by Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
- Created: August 14, 2012, 10:57 pm
Is August a slow season for your small business? For many of us, business slows down as the days heat up. Fortunately, that makes the rest of this month the ideal time to use your downtime productively by reassessing your marketing strategy. Determine what’s working and what isn’t, and revamp your approach for the rest of the year.
Here are some areas to consider:
Has your target market changed? Maybe your customers are getting older, moving out of your area or spending less on what you sell. Is there a new target market you could focus on to pick up the slack? How could you adjust your product or service mix or branding message to effectively reach out to new customers, or recapture those who used to buy from you but have stopped doing so?
What’s your competition doing? Assess your closest competitors—both large and small, online and offline. How are they marketing their businesses? What are they doing differently or better than you are? What marketing tactics could you employ that they aren’t using? Are they targeting markets you’re ignoring, or are there markets they’re neglecting that you could capture?
Has your industry changed? Keeping up-to-date with your industry association’s news, training and conferences will help you stay abreast of the latest marketing trends for businesses like yours. Take advantage of free or low-cost resources your industry association may offer to help you learn the latest marketing tactics. Take note of industry best practices for marketing and learn from them.
Have your marketing goals changed? Maybe it’s time to adjust your marketing goals. (You do set measurable goals, don’t you?) What return on investment do you expect to get from each of your marketing efforts? Are certain parts of your marketing plan exceeding your goals while others fall short? Consider pulling back on the areas that aren’t paying off and putting greater focus on those that are.
What resources will you need? Do you have adequate resources (time, manpower, money) to carry out your marketing plan? If not, you’ll have to make adjustments, whether that means hiring, reapportioning budgets or changing your plans. Now more than ever, successful marketing requires turning on a dime, so be prepared to make changes to your plans quickly, and set aside a portion of your marketing budget to handle the unexpected.
What does the future hold? This time last year, no one could have predicted the extent to which mobile marketing and mobile shopping would affect the 2011 holiday season. Are there similar game-changers in store for your industry in the coming year? Think like a futurist and examine the market trends affecting your customers, your region and your industry. How could these trends play out in the next 12 months, and how will that affect your marketing?
Assessing your goals, needs and results, then adjusting your plans appropriately, will enable you to fine-tune your marketing strategy for success the rest of the year. Now, that’s a summer well spent.
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