Year End Marketing Checklist

September 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ah, Labor Day – the unofficial start of fall. Football has finally returned, and Christmas is starting to creep into stores.

It’s always too early when retailers begin the Christmas season, but it serves as a reminder for all of us: Now is the time to prepare for the end of one year and the opening of the next.

You’re busy now. This doesn’t seem urgent. But remember how last fall flashed past, and suddenly the holiday season was upon you with all its added tasks, then 2012 was staring you in the face?

Looking ahead will let you enjoy the holidays and avoid last minute scrambling to get your marketing started in the new year.  Here are a few items to undertake now:

Prepare for the holidays.  Update your company’s Christmas/Thanksgiving/
holiday card mailing list.  Review gift-giving lists.  Select cards and gifts and order them, or at least determine when to order, allowing a cushion for delays.

Look back to look ahead.  Evaluate your previous 12 months’ marketing efforts.  What worked or didn’t?  Was the timing right, or could it be tweaked to drive business in lower periods?  Did your budget cover your efforts?  What will your 2013 goals and plan be?

Budget.  In budgeting for 2013, anticipate a 3%-5% price increase in media and materials so if it happens you won’t be forced to cut some facet of your plan.  Also build in flexibility for that unexpected marketing or PR opportunity, or to add a new aspect to your marketing strategy.

Update.  Consider trends and technology.  Is your company using them to its best advantage?  Do you have the means – E-news, blogging and other social media – to communicate with current and potential clients?  Does your website need to be revamped?  Develop those tools over the fall months so you’ll have them in time for the new year’s arrival.

Be ready to work on January 2.  Trade shows and conferences often happen in the first weeks of the new year, and good sales tools take time to produce.  Tackle those displays, media CDs, sales sheets and Power Point presentations now.  They’ll be more thoughtful and effective than something cobbled together at the last minute, and you can hit the ground running as soon as the ball drops.

Plan your event.  The post-holiday lull is the reason shows and conferences are held in January and February.  There’s less competition for attention because most folks are too wiped out from the holidays to do something big.  So if you’re considering making a splashy announcement or hosting a client or community event, this is the best time to start planning that.

Anticipate 2013 advertising.  The week between Christmas and January 1 is not the time to decide on advertising for the first of the year.  New ads should be produced in the fall for a New Year’s debut.  A media plan should be developed at the same time so you’ll be ready to take advantage of first quarter opportunities and deals often offered by the media.

It’s easy to postpone the things that aren’t due tomorrow because we’re preoccupied with those that are.  But marketing is an investment.  Take time now to ensure you’ll get the wisest use of your advertising and public relations budget in 2013.

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