Friday, November 13, 2009

Help Us, Help You (Make 2010 a Success)

I’m stating the obvious when I say it has been a… Challenging… year for small businesses in the lifestyle category (even moreso for those focused on luxury goods and services). So, as 2009 winds down (48 days until the New Year!), most remain wary about marketing plans for 2010. I hear many, in fact, saying they aren’t only “wary”, but actually taking a wait-and-see approach.

While that is natural and understandable on a personal level (as a small business owner, I completely relate); on a business level, it ranges from foolish to suicide. Unless you anticipate the possibility of shutting your business in Q1 2010, I hope you have in place (or are developing), a MARCOM strategy to keep your company front of mind for your customers and potentials. Granted, I advise a cautious approach in developing that plan (you can always add elements), winging it is never a good option and, as research shows (see here and here, for example), those who market during a down economy—scary though it may be—are the ones who benefit when things turn around. And, rest assured, they will turn around.

So, I ask… What is your MARCOM plan?

  1. Will you advertise? If so, where is the best place for you to invest those dollars? Do you know? Or will you (*shudder*) follow the advice of the commission-based sales rep (and they all are) that does the best job of wooing you in 2010?
  2. Will you invest in marketing opportunities like shows or events? If so, have you conducted market research to determine which are the best venues for your niche?
  3. Will you have a public relations outreach in 2010? If so, what is your plan? Who is your target? Do you have a press list? What will you have to promote? And how will you promote it? (Also, given too many conversations I’ve recently had: do you understand the definition of public relations and how it differs from advertising?)
  4. Do you have a social media plan? How will you best utilize those tools? Do you understand how to use social networking to grow your business? Who will you delegate to handle that for your business? And how much of an investment are you going to make (time and money) into this, the fastest growing method of marketing?

These are questions that businesses can not leave to chance, circumstance, or the most charming salesperson who comes along in 2010. These are answers that need to be determined this month (or next, at the latest).

I understand the predicament of not wanting to “commit” when the first half of 2010 is such an unknown… but I also can’t stress enough the need for planning and strategy (no matter how bare-bones). So, Miamore Communications is offering special 2010 MARCOM strategy and planning sessions to small businesses. Let us sit down with you; analyze your budget, target market and goals; and assist you in creating a 12-month outline that is achievable in within your means, not your dreams. While corporate agencies focus on number-crunching, as a boutique firm, Miamore Communications is not just flexible, but I’m also a huge believer in paying it forward. And, let’s face it, if you are a small business, either in our same geographic market (New England), or within our niche—lifestyle and luxury—the long-term success of your company = our long-term success of mine.

So let’s collaborate to make 2010 successful for both of us. Email us or give us a call anytime at 401-315-5979.

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