2012 - A Breakout Year?

A duo working together at a computer

Cut all advertising which fueled growth in better times. Let their brand rust out. That's understandable, after four years of a massive recession. Now, there are signs of recovery. How's your situation? Are you prepared to take advantage of growth in 2012? Here's some actions you can take to prepare for better times:

Spend some time in the garage.

Look your situation over. Where are you parked in relation to your competitors, your customers, your prospects? Things have probably shifted, markets change, and you need to study and adapt. Get advice from an objective expert. Do a marketing audit. Write a marketing plan back into your business plan.

Map your return to prosperity.

If you've put planning on hold for the recession, now's the time to dust off those grand blueprints. Take stock of your assets and liabilities. Brainstorm effective strategies and tactics for a new environment. Talk to new vendors. Survey your customers. Get a fresh perspective.

Tune-up time.

Set an appointment with a good marketing mechanic. Take time to analyze your current mileage. Cost per lead, whatever. These days you need maximum performance. Try new ways to talk to customers. Clean up your database. Implement a CRM program.

Is your lead machine oiled and gassed up?

You've cut back on marketing for a long time. How long will it take to rebuild your pipeline of leads? If you neglect this, you'll miss early opportunities. Try new media. Develop the campaigns, websites, print concepts, and offers you'll deploy when able.

How's your paint job?

How's the finish on your brand image? Maybe now's the time to redo your corporate identity, website or marketing materials. You need to LOOK fresh, even if you feel beat up.

Do you need an overhaul?

You've waited so long, your ride is shot. Driving down the same old road, on retreads, that worked well enough before the recession, just won't cut it any more. It takes more creativity, and new strategies, usually on less funds, to reach customers now. Maybe it's time for a whole new approach. If you do these things now, you'll be miles down the road to recovery in 2012.

Guest blog written by Gary Smith.