I am giving you permission to sit back, let 2011 slip out of your thoughts for a moment and think about the future. Yes, the future. 2012 is a unwritten story, especially when it comes to your business, brand and strategies.
The one-size-fits-all knitted winter hat style of marketing has never worked. Simply put, BE FLEXIBLE. (If you are not flexible add “Start Yoga” to your New Years resolutions. Trust me it will work both mentally and physically.) Don’t start 2012 with high expectations that your ten page marketing plan is going to attract a legion of clean leads, get you featured on Oprah’s favorite things and pay for that fancy world tour.
Create a strategy per business goal. For example, at BizeeBee, we found that studios in non-competitive, small cities were an excellent market fit for our service as it is today. That meant we created an entire strategy focused on that market segment. From physical mailing, email marketing to follow ups through other channels our strategy revolved around a clear vision and the tactics were easier to design as well as measure.
It is easy for business owners to get carried away with trying to sell their vision to people. When in reality, what sells is stories. I don’t mean novels, unless you are JK Rowling. My husband, Eli, recently launched his first big project called Claratii. Word of mouth has been his strategy for spreading the word. I was proud to witness him sharing his story on why he created the tool. He starts off with sharing how having clear communication between him and I around finances as well as future financial planning was very important to him. People engage and relate to his challenges, then delight in trying out this solution.
Remember the days of awkward middle and highschool? Well, one lesson in particular that is valuable from those days to apply to your strategy is peer reviews. Yes, those moments when Joe Too-Cute-To-Look-At-Without-Blushing read your paper and gave you thoughts on how to improve it, what he thought it meant and other tips were actually teaching you a valuable lesson. I challenge you to sit down with a friend and ask them “What does my business do?”. I heard this tactic recently used by Derek Johnson, CEO and Founder of Tatango. He was surprised to hear his friend tell him all kinds of things about his business, but it was a bit fuzzy. What did he do? He simplified his message to focus just on what they did best.
That happy tingling sensation that makes you smile, motivates you to keep going and makes those long nights worth it? Yeah, that’s love. Love for your customers, for your employees, and your vision. If you want to know the key to being genuine it is speaking and acting from the heart, not standing behind fluffy marketing messages. One great example comes from a company I have always enjoyed working with, Freshbooks.
“It is tough to find a phone number for most web companies, but Freshbooks’ number is on the top of the home page. The company even brags on its blog about its commitment to answering the phone … Love doesn’t necessarily pay the bills, of course. But Saul [Colt] says his philosophy “will deliver an incredible ROI that can’t be tracked in a traditional way.” – INC
This 2012, stuff your marketing, business, branding and outreach strategies for success. Wishing you a very happy, and healthy New Year!