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Top 10 Resolutions for 2010

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Have you made your resolutions for 2010 yet?

Maybe you’re not the type that makes resolutions, or maybe you’re afraid to do anything that looks like a plan coming out of a year where everything changed and plans were scrapped in the Q1, 2009. Whatever your feelings about the year behind and the one ahead, there are things you should do to market your business and move forward. Here is my top 10 list of things to do to move forward in 2010:

1. Stop hiding. I know it’s scary out there but trying to hide from a bad economy is like lopping off a limb in hopes of losing weight. It makes things worse. Every month you are not out there promoting your company is another month you fall into obscurity.

2. Avoid the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mindset. This new economy has changed everything. If you don’t change you will be left behind.

3. Try something new. A logical step after #2! Even if you don’t have much of a marketing budget, you need to do something. Start a blog, get out on social media, or create an email newsletter to engage your customers.

4. Give new marketing time to work. It’s important to have a plan going into any new process. This goes back to the best practices of direct marketing that apply to most marketing – set something up to succeed: develop, test, learn, change, and repeat.

5. Get out of the one or two marketing media rut: I read recently that the winners of The Effie Awards (http://www.effie.org/ideas_that_work) this year used an average of 7 media in their advertising and marketing mix. They all work together. Email, direct mail and advertising push out to drive business to Web sites, social media and mobile. And with the advent of QR barcodes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuVSpG-ZdkU) and other new developments the lines have blurred between old and new media – between print and electronic interaction.

6. Create continuity with your brand across media. If you are doing less marketing it is more important than ever to be an advocate for your company brand and make sure that everything you do is true to your brand look, tone and personality no matter what marketing or advertising media you choose.

7. Start fresh – update your brand. Does your logo look older or reflect a previous era? Or maybe you need to update your collateral with the new products or services you’re offering? Then it’s time for an update. If you’re rebranding, refreshing or refurbishing, just choose your palette carefully and don’t use the year’s trendiest color. There are a lot of great colors in the world, so please, please don’t choose turquoise as the agent of change in your logo this year. Not unless you want to hear (in a year or two) wow, that logo color is so 2010 (or 1990’s).

8. Conduct a customer survey. Sure, every company has weaknesses, so why not find out what they are so you can do something about it? Find out what your customers really think. Not just what you think (or worse, hope) they think.

9. Commit to being great in your job, continue to learn. Whether you are in a lower-level job or CEO, commit to being the best you can in your job. There is so much out there to learn and multiple media to incorporate into your marketing plan. Jim Collins, in his book “Good to Great” starts the book with one of the best lines I’ve heard: “Good is the enemy of great.” This is a year to learn, grow and take your marketing to the next level.

10. Go forth and make yourself proud. 2010 will be another year of change. Embrace it, get out of the “prevent defense” and go on the offensive. Learn, grow and kick some butt. You’ll look back and be glad you did, I just know it.

2009 is dead! Long live 2010!

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I’ve never been one to walk into the office and hope the day would bring me nothing but predictable things. The year 2009 has been a year of change and change strikes fear into the hearts of many people. To me, change brings on a litany of things – growth, excitement, learning, getting out of comfort zones and a change of view.

It’s an exciting and terrifying time because so many new things have become a part of the marketing mainstream scene. We’re blogging, tweeting and meeting up on Facebook and LinkedIn. We’re having conversations about our brands with people who buy our stuff – whether we like it or not. This brings out the best and worst in people on both sides and time will tell where this takes the marketing industry as a whole.

However, for some people 2009 has also been a year of staying under the radar, non-communication and fear. It has caused people to stop talking, stop testing and stop trying new things with their marketing. Marketing budgets were slashed, causing some companies to get creative and some to hide – a strange dichotomy. It’s been a year of extremes in many ways. So how do we move carefully or purposefully into 2010? How do we embrace challenge at hand and conquer it?

At d.trio, we plan on doing what we’ve been doing, only more of it. We started with our “Keep Talking” campaign and added different communication points and media as the year went on with an emphasis on keeping those communications line open. As a company, you need to understand the best way to get in front of your customers (it may be many channels that work together) you need to open the communications again and start talking to your customers and prospects.

There is nothing more counterproductive to visibility than hiding (duh). Get out there and make a plan. Allocate some dollars to your success. Try some new techniques and test new media. If you’re an agency, here’s a good blog to follow: http://fuelingnewbusiness.com/2009/11/05/twitter-list-agencies-on-twitter/

Here’s a link if you’re a bank interested in what other banks are doing: http://mashable.com/2009/09/11/banks-social-media/

And here’s a list of the Top 10 most mentioned topics on Twitter to inspire you:
http://mashable.com/2009/12/15/twitter-reveals-most-discussed-topics-of-2009/

But don’t stay invisible, unless that’s what you want to be – the brand that no one knows or sees. Call if you need help, but regardless we’d love to hear from you. Let us know what you are doing and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

The Future of Marketing

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What is the future of marketing?

I was asked to give a speech about this recently. Wow.  Why didn’t they just ask what the meaning of life is?  That might have been easier to answer.

It’s a loaded question – much debated. From one side you have the paperless world advocates who never pick up a hard copy paper or brochure. And, on the other side you have people who like to touch and hold the things they read and linger over them. You have groups who like to keep in touch and get their information electronically, spending most of their time online. Then you have others who prefer to look at information at their leisure, without having to turn the computer on.

How do you sort through this? What do you focus on if you’re a marketer? And what is the right direction to go? I don’t believe there is one correct focus or direction because the world’s not static. With all of the new media, electronics, technology and software in play, what we know today may be obsolete in a year (or less!). That doesn’t mean traditional marketing like direct marketing is dead (or ineffective), nor does it mean that electronic media is the only game in town. They work better together (http://www.digitalmarketing.co.nz/websites/multimedia/)

Marketing is evolving. Good marketing no longer just pushes out, but it also engages and is interactive. We’re no longer in a society where the brand dictates the behavior of the consumer, but quite the opposite. People are having conversations. There are brand super fans that drive the direction of the brand and demand quality and authenticity in the product and message. It may seem simplistic, but people are demanding a more “real” experience from their brand interactions and those more successful brands are embracing this and using multiple marketing channels to their advantage.

So what does that mean for any one marketing channel? Each channel marketer has a good reason for choosing a particular medium, but is it the right reason? Is it because the recipient wants to be communicated to in a particular way through a specific channel? Or is it a “one channel fits all” approach?

Marketing is going the way of music. It is being influenced by the technology available, the way people use the technology and the interactive nature of our changing culture. People like to share. I couldn’t have predicted that we’d be marketing to people through the iPhone 10 years ago and that there would be 85,000 apps because none of the technology existed.

These things, these changes are making us better marketers. They are directing the course of how people want to be communicated to and with. And, there are some basic messages coming out of the conversations:

· Market your business authentically.
· Listen to customer driven choice.
· Make the message meaningful with useful content.
· Respect your audience.

We’ll all be riding this marketing technology rollercoaster to see where it goes. People are demanding more say in brands and where the brands are going.  The companies who embrace and use the technology and channels well will succeed and thrive. Those that don’t may be frustrated and left behind. The important thing is to get out there, learn, try some things and test to figure out the best channels for your business. The future of marketing is in your hands.