A Great New Year’s Resolution
by Chad Rueffert

The New Year is a great time to resolve to bring your company’s marketing up to date.  And while it may cost you a little money and time to do it, not updating on a regular basis will certainly cost you business, which is far more expensive.

Update Your Marketing Strategy

This year will be different than last year.  The economy will be different, technology will be different, and your customers will change.  To keep up with these changes you may need new strategies.  Is this the year you start marketing to empty nesters as well as first-time buyers?  Did you add new staff or new equipment that will allow you to go after a new customer or a new market?  Take a look at what worked last year and what didn't.  List the changes you went through and how they affect your marketing.  Think towards the future and use your experience to predict it.  If you do all that and last year's marketing strategy still applies then you're good to go.  If not, change it and move forward in the right direction.

Update Your Brochure (and then send it out!)

Think about the customer who hasn't called in awhile.  They finally got a new project going and need your services again.  They pull out a brochure from two years ago and call the number on the back.  Disconnected.  They look up the new number in the phone book and call to ask for Bob Smith the sales manager.  Sorry, he doesn't work here any more.  Creating a new brochure gives you the excuse to send one to that old customer, to reestablish contact with her, to remind her who you are, what you do, and how you can help her.  If you don't, she may find plenty of reasons to call someone else, especially if that someone else just sent her a new brochure!

Update Your Website (and then keep it that way!)

For some reason, websites seem to be the most out-of-date marketing tool at many companies.  I'm not sure why, since websites are by far the easiest thing to actually keep up-to-date.  My guess is that most of these companies don't actually use their websites as a marketing tool, but simply created it out of obligation and then let it rot in a virtual trash heap.  Each and every day, more people connect to the Internet both at home and at work.  Your website does not have to be a spectacular extravaganza of e-commerce, but it does have to be up-to-date.  If the last press release you posted is more than six months old that tells visitors you've accomplished nothing in the last six months.  Post a new one.  If your site is exactly the same as it was a year ago, there's no reason for a potential customer to look at it again, they'll get no added value.  It is better to have no website at all than to have one that gives your customers old or inaccurate information.

Update Your Image (even businesses get old!)

When was the last time you held your company up to a mirror and had it take a good look at itself?  Like people, over time, your company's image will get a few wrinkles, sags and age spots.  Unlike people, there's no need for plastic surgery or a fountain of youth.  Even a little updating can improve your image.  Revise your logo to make it a little more professional.  Redesign your stationery and choose some new paper to print it on. Try adding a photo to your business cards or printing them in full-color.  You'll be amazed at how energized your employees will get and the amount of positive response your clients will give when you make the effort to update your image.  You give your sales people something new to talk about, your employees something new to be proud of, and your customers one more reason to be affiliated with you.

Just as you make resolutions for personal improvement every New Year, take the time to sit down and decide what you're going to do to improve your marketing.