Back to Basics in 5 easy Steps:
Getting a Second Opinion on Your Marketing Plan

By Cyndy Bolton

When was the last time you took a good look at your back? That's right, your back. Have you checked it for any healthy abnormalities, uncontrolled hair growth or unappealing skin patches?

Try this, then: after your next shower, scope your back out in the bathroom mirror. Unless you are unusually flexible, the result will be like watching a dog chase its tail. Futile, with unsuccessful results.

Let's face it, it's pretty hard to rely on yourself to do quality control checks on the body parts that you have a hard time accessing. Like me, you probably rely on someone else to do this for you such as a life partner or your health care professional.

The same scenario applies to your marketing plan. If you have not recently taken a good look at it, then maybe now is a good time. With the economy struggling to stabilize, it is pertinent to breathe new life into a stagnant marketing strategy.

If you can't rely on your current plan, take the second opinion option. You wouldn't have the goiter on your back checked out by a electrician. Go to a marketing professional and begin developing your first steps. You may not have the time allowance to wrestle with a new plan, so leave it to a pro who can help you address it with a fresh new perspective.

A marketer will help you and guide you on your path moving forward. They can suggest new tools, appropriate media and methods of advertising that will hit closer to your market. A pro can help set your plan straight and develop effective concepts and ideas.

Ready yourself and your team for potential growth by following these 5 steps to more effective marketing:

  1. Interview your clients. Ask what their wants and needs are. They will give you ideas to improve your products and services.

  2. Talk to your suppliers. Discuss upcoming launches, new developments and innovations that could possibly give your business an edge over the competition.

  3. Research the competition. See what they have to offer and go one step further. You could increase your bottom line by dedicating only one half hour a week in online research.

  4. Offer Incentives. Offering something that is value-added could boost your sales. Just don't give the "farm" away, or you won't be able to produce any more "milk". This method can be adopted into other aspects of your business such as raising employee satisfaction, reinforcing customer loyalty or boosting your place within the community. This can be obtained through the implementation of a points-based benefit system.

  5. Do some brief online research. Access to information has dramatically increased with the development of the internet. What used to take weeks the research through books and interviews, now takes just a few hours. An improved business plan is at your fingertips. Check out forums and blogs pertaining to your forte. Spend a little time looking forth niche that appeals to your I.T. side. Put your world-wide-web ear to the ground and explore new avenues.

Practice most, or all of these steps and see results.

Always remember to contact a communications professional if you need help developing your new marketing path. With other important duties such as work and family, let them do what they do best. It will pay off!