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Use the “Dog Days” to Rethink Your Marketing Strategy

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Use the “Dog Days” to Rethink Your Marketing Strategy

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: August 14, 2012


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.

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She's been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades


The Augusts comes and it's time to think about our business. Rieva i think you have written the best strategy to manage better our business.
Good advice. Summer is definitely the time to regroup and make plans for a profitable holiday season. Still, there are so many events that take place throughout the summer, there are tons of PR opportunities for small businesses to capitalize on.
The strategy is the most familiar with us. Of course it is a great blog.
Down times are some of the realities of any business that can be considered as paradoxical in a way or two. It's actually like seeing a glass half full or half empty. It should be a time when some good and not-so-good things are handled in a more rational manner-yes, it is indeed a perfect time to polish marketing strategies: to give due reward for the hardworking employees and to give token to loyal customers. These rewards or token could be something that could also retain your company's branding.
Thanks for the informative points Rieva. In our slow time, we go through similar points you mentioned as well as some other points we have developed during the past years. Specially in online marketing, it would be ideal for every small business to look into new platforms and opportunities that could provide some competitive edge. Surprisingly, some of the new channels we test are more effective than the mature channels of marketing most small businesses use. Thanks
With time everything changes then why not the marketing strategy. Also, I agree with @BridgetH that the past success of any strategy doesn't guarantee the same in future.
I think we all need to keep up with changes. Just because your strategy worked before, doesn't mean it will work in the future.
It is a good strategy, even interesting if we thought we better can come as well.

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