Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

If you read this column with any regularity, you know my mission: to dispense advice on best practices in early-stage marketing. Some of the counsel I give is proactive, some reactive — and some preventative. (After all, it’s usually easier to avoid making a mistake than it is to fix one.) Marketing is a powerful tool, and like most powerful things, it can either help or hurt you depending on how skilled you are in using it.

As we move into 2001, I want to offer up a set of (yes, you know what’s coming!) New Year’s resolutions as we look to market our companies for the greater good of society and ourselves. So raise your right hand, and repeat after me:

I, _____________, solemnly resolve in the new year to…

… set clear and measurable goals and objectives for the marketing of my company and its products.

… develop strategies for accomplishing those goals.

… not use any of the following in the name of my new company: “I-,” “E-,” “.com,” or “.net.”

… better understand my customers and how they interact with my products and/or services by talking to them and listening to their needs.

… craft press releases that will not use the following words or phrases: “unique,” “first of its kind,” “best of breed,” “we are excited,” etc. ad nauseam. (Want more examples? Look at Dilbert or dack.com’s Web Economy Bullshit Generator.

… send out press releases only if they actually contain news.

…create a speaker brief and send it out for consideration to five conferences and trade shows.

… blow away my competition at the annual industry trade show while spending less money than I did this year.

… start all meetings on time, begin those meetings with the phrase “the purpose of this meeting is…,” have an agenda for the meeting, stick to the agenda, and always accomplish the purpose of the meeting.

… read this column religiously and send regular emails to Ann Handley at ann@clickz.com telling her how wonderful it is to have this column as a resource. (OK, this doesn’t have to be one of your resolutions!)

To those of you who have read this column over the last year, let me say how much I appreciate your interest. I’ve really enjoyed writing it for it’s allowed me to share my marketing experiences — good and bad — with others in hopes that they can learn from what I’ve learned.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to write to me this year, whether to comment on a particular topic, ask questions, or vent your spleen. It’s gratifying to know I have struck a chord. And a very special thanks to the editorial gang at ClickZ for giving me a voice on its network; it’s a privilege to be part of the team.

I hope to bring you fresh insight and ideas next year. Until then, here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!

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