"Bah, humbug!" If you're looking at your year-end figures and voicing that sentiment, you may have given up on the power of a cohesive, congruent marketing strategy and implementation for bringing about that happy holiday -- or you may have been stingy about feeding that marketing machine, starving your future in an obsessive effort to hang onto the here and now. Maybe what you need is a visitation from three spirits:
The Ghost of Marketing Past
This spirit forces you to take a long, perhaps painful look back at your previous marketing efforts from Day One of your company's launch. You made plenty of mistakes, didn't you? We all do. Of course you also had your share of successes. But for the most part, you probably stumbled from discovery to discovery, embracing what worked and paring away what didn't. Pay special attention to those things you should've done. Did you invest the right amount of time, effort and money into your marketing? Did you draw up an official marketing budget (as opposed to stealing from your grocery money)? Did you seek professional guidance from people who could smooth your way and help you produce better results more quickly?
The Ghost of Marketing Present
This figure stands before right now, saying, "Here you are." He compels you to view the current state of your website, social media presence, print marketing, networking partnerships and client relationships. As you stand on the cusp of a new year, what are your marketing resolutions? Are you enjoying the fruits of your current labor, or are you wishing that Christmas goose could have a little more meat on it? Well, you've learned from the past, but the past is gone -- it no longer exists, and you cannot act in it. You can only take action NOW. So take stock, make some decisions, and move on them. There's literally no time like the present.
The Ghost of Marketing Future
Finally, you take a stroll with this mysterious character down Maybe Lane. Where do your current business decisions and marketing campaigns leading you? Do you see yourself spinning your wheels year after frustrating year, or do you see yourself breaking through to the big time? The nifty thing about this vision is that it hasn't actually taken shape yet, which means you can still fashion it into whatever you want it to be. Try picturing your ideal business in terms of industry status, revenues, reputation and so on. Are you on track to make it happen? If not, you may want to start by reworking your brand messaging and marketing content to reflect the organization you want to become. Hiring a freelance copywriter to help you create this fresh content could turn out to be the best leap forward you could possibly make.
And that's no humbug!