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2011 Marketing To-Do List

Wednesday, January 26 2011 10:44 AM
By Scott Thome

It's a mild understatement to say "the world has changed." I'm not talking economics or politics here, I'm talking about demographics, target audiences, information exchanges, community driven content, social media, mobile devices, and about a million other cool ideas that are taking root RIGHT NOW.

So let me ask you, when was the last time you revised your marketing plan? When was the last time you considered your marketing goals and how to reach your audience?  When was the last time you did an audit of  how your marketing budget should be spent?

2011 is a sink or swim year

The fundamentals of marketing venues have changed, and you must adapt or be left behind.  Let me give you some topics to think about this year (the sooner the better).

Your Website
Just as all roads lead to Rome, all search traffic flows to your website.  It is the first and last impression that your audience will receive from you.  A carefully designed and branded website built using the most efficient and accessible code will win next to an aging website, a templated site, or one put together by an amateur web designer any day.  In decades past, you wouldn't have sacrificed a dime on the real estate for your business (location, location, location).  Today, sacrificing on your website lets your customers and competitors know where you stand in the game.

If design is the body of a car, then optimization is the engine; one cannot function without the other.  To optimize a site is to make sure your content is found and indexed in all major search engines.  This is a laborious task, and it involves steps beyond the website itself, but it makes all the difference in the world.

Your site must be focused not only by your marketing message but also to potential customers who are searching for your products and services.  Your content requires a copywriter. Your images requires a photographer.  It all has to be done right and look perfect or you won't be found online. The internet is 100% Darwinian.

Your Social Brand
Believe it or not, but there is more to social media than just Facebook.  You see, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are just a few of the new media outlets available to your internet marketing efforts.  There are 100+ more social media outlets out there that are worth considering, and that number is growing daily.  Social media allows you to target specific audiences so you can converse with them on a one-to-one-to-all basis.

There are a host of directory and search engine listings that contain your company's information.  Is that information correct?  Do they have your business categorized correctly?  Are there some directories that do not have a listing for your business?  The combination of social media, search engines, and directories comprise your online identity.  Just like here in the real world, your online identity must be accurate and consistent.

Your Advertising
Do you remember TV commercials?  With 40% of the population with a DVR in their living room and growing, I'm not alone in saying that fast-forwarding through commercials is a joy.  Print is suffering too with readership declining across the board.  So where do you spend your advertising budget?  Actually, the answer is more difficult than you think.

Yes, your audience is online.  They've been there for a while, but it's only been recently that they've begun turning their backs on traditional media outlets.  Don't get me wrong, TV, radio, and print are all very useful advertising tools that speak to broad audiences and will for many years to come.  Internet advertising, however, is a beautiful mix of mass and targeted media.

The audience(s) have become splintered, though.  Today's advertising requires much more planning and hard work because the game is so much more fragmented.  You can run graphical and text ads on a variety of ad networks that cater to different demographics.  You can reach your customers on their smart phones via in-app display networks.  If you're running a print ad but short on space, you can add a code in the ad that a mobile device can scan (take a picture of) and then send your customer to your website for an enhanced experience.  The possibilities are limitless and more cost effective than ever before.  Most importantly, all of this trackable!  You'll know your ROI down to the penny.

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