Small business marketing for the year ahead

There are many techniques for effectively marketing a small business, but some of the best generally involve a lot of planning. It can be frustrating for organizations to devote large sums of money on short-term goals, so it may be most helpful to consider long-term strategies that allow capital to accumulate, and planning to take precedence over reactive, short-term activities.

There's no better time to lay out a detailed plan for marketing methods than at the end of a calendar year. It allows for better comparisons with past years, gives a wide-open perspective on the future and can presumably be accomplished during the holiday season, when there's enough business being done to ensure that a focus on the future won't harm an organization. Here are some tips for implementing a marketing pattern for 2012.

Review the past
It doesn't take corporate analysts and expensive metrics to gain some perspective on the past year. Look back at how market forces shaped both the marketing strategy that a company employed 12 months prior as well as the fortunes of the company itself. This can offer valuable insight about how certain campaigns fared, and if they should be replicated. Moreover, the amount of time devoted to different types of advertisement or customer outreach can be seen from a new perspective.

Consider needs
After a review of the past, it can become clear what a company is in need of for the future. For example, it might be obvious that a customer base needs expanding, which can be considered a short-term goal that needs to be accomplished as soon as possible. Conversely, keeping in touch with existing customers and ensuring that they aren't lost to competitors is a long-term effort that requires more planning and time to execute. Begin to set dates for certain accomplishments and decide what resources need to be devoted to which aspects of marketing. Splurge on promotional products early in the year, but mete out funds for social network engagement slowly.

Weigh investments
The beginning of the calendar year makes it easy to make budgetary considerations for marketing and advertising purposes. A small business marketer can see the whole year and realize that funds should be squirreled away for pushes in the summer if, for example, a company finds that most of its business comes during that time of year. Additionally, projects such as designing a logo or building a website should be accounted for and planned out far in advance.  

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