For me, there’s no better time of year than fall because both college and professional football can take over my weekends. The pinnacle of the college football season is Bowl Week (I’ll save my opinion about the BCS ranking system for another time) and as a former Midwesterner my favorite game has always been the Granddaddy of them all – the Rose Bowl.
The Rose Bowl, which takes place in Pasadena, CA on January 1, features the PAC 10 and the Big 10 champions facing off. It’s not just the game that I look forward to but also the experience of it all, which starts with the famous Tournament of Roses Parade. Historically, the parade has featured spirited marching bands from throughout the nation, majestic floral floats, and high-stepping equestrian units. This year will be no exception, though the parade will have a new name and new sponsor – it will be the 122nd Rose Parade Presented by Honda!
Well, you blinked and it's nearly 2011! Hard to believe. So here is my suggestion for planning your marketing for the coming year. Ask yourself the following questions.
1) What is your annual marketing budget? Include graphics, printing, advertising, photography, direct mail, promotions, trade shows, consultant's fees, etc. As a rule of thumb, consider putting 3 - 7% of gross sales into this budget for 2011. And yes, you should budget this and set aside the money and not do it on the fly, you are more likely to make a commitment and stick with it if you set this money aside now.
2) Who is your target audience? And don't say "everyone." It is much harder and much more expensive to target "everyone." Finetune your target, 'single women in a specific age range and income level in the Westchester area' will help you identify how to reach those people much eaiser than just saying everyone. And you may have secondary audiences as well, but who is your "best customer?" Identify that group of people and then you can determine how to best reach them.
3) This will sound silly, but what is your business description? If you own a retail store, don't just identify yourself as "a gift shop." Be more specific and interesting, what are you really selling, gifts or status symbols or economical choices for the budget conscious consumer, etc. What do you really sell? Understanding that point and conveying it succinctly will help you to refine your sales message and better target your audience.
4) What are you quantifiable goals for 2011? Increase sales... by how much? Resell to past customers? What are reselling? Upselling to existing customers? How much do you want to sell? Are you planning to increase overall gross sales by 20% or perhaps just increase gross profits by 15% which would make for a different plan that just increasing gross sales....? If you own a service business, perhaps you goal is to "add 3 more clients per month in a target sales range of $1,500 - $2,000 per month." Be very specific, that will help you quantify success and set a path to get there.
5) How are you going to best convey your message to the best audience? Newspaper ads? On-line marketing? Pay per click? Twittter? Direct mail? Blogging? All will gain you visiblity, but not all will work optimally. Take a look at what you have done in the past and determine if it worked, why it did or didn't work and how you can adjust it going forward. What new tools haven't you tried? Who can you ask about new tools and what will work for you? Don't discount older methods of marketing and don't just on newer ones just because they are trendy. Determine how they each will work for you particular business and then go about implmenting them.
And before I forget, be sure to prepare a calendar of activities so that you know not only when you will do something, but when you will need to get it ready so you don't miss deadlines, for example if you know that advertising in a special issue of Westchester Magazine is something you want to do, you need to plan that out 3 months in advance!
Preparing this information now will help you be organized for January so you can get moving quickly in the new year and start seeing success sooner rather than later!
If entertaining at home I start at all recipies.com. You can create an event, pick a menu, automatically change the recipes to how many guests you are having and have a grocery list generated for you from all the recipes you are using from the site. It doesn’t get easier than that.
Last week’s election results sent the message that voters are highly upset with the nature of the economic recovery and anxious about the future. The past few election cycles have been characterized by meaningful political change and heightened volatility, with the 2010 midterms marking the third consecutive election that resulted in a change of control in either the legislative or executive branch — the first time in history this has happened. From an investment perspective, we believe the results should make for a more market-friendly environment, and we are hopeful that Congress and President Obama will be able to come to terms on some important issues, including energy policy, extending free trade agreements and possibly even reducing spending and deficit levels.
An issue of particular importance to many investors is the future direction of tax policy. In our view, the strength of the GOP victory makes it quite likely that Congress will push through some extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of 2010. We believe the most likely scenario is that the full package of cuts is extended for a year or two before a longer-term compromise is worked out. Should this happen, it would mean that the reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends would remain intact for now, which would be a positive for equity markets.
This week is unusually packed with market-related events, including the US midterm elections today, the Federal Reserve’s scheduled policy meeting on Wednesday and the monthly labor market report on Friday, so investors have much to pay attention to over the next few days.
In economic news, the preliminary third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) report showed that the economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.0%, which was in line with
In the "About Us" section why is the identity of the founder(s) secret? Also, none of the "articles" are signed. It makes me wonder about the reliability and veracity of this website. Can you tell me who is behind westchester.com?
This is what I wrote her in reply, and I thought I would share it with you, as you might be wondering too:
Equity markets rose again last week, continuing the rally that has been in place since early September.
The impetus of the now month-and-a-half long rally was the end of a consistent downgrading of economic growth prospects and the possibility (soon to be a reality) of additional action on the part of the world’s central banks to combat the still-present risks of deflation.
As someone committed to quality education, I was interested to learn that a new charter school -- the proposed Hudson Valley Charter School for the Arts and Global Awareness -- might be coming to the White Plains area.
Charter schools, which are not subject to the same rules and regulations as public schools, can develop unique means and teaching methods. Like home schooling, military academies, private and parochial schools, they sometimes perform better than nearby public schools, although not nearly as well as the provocative film Waiting for "Superman" suggests. In a nationwide study of 2500 charter schools by Stanford economist Margaret Raymond -- the CREDO study -- 17% were judged superior to matched public schools, 46% the same, and 37% worse, leaving plenty of room for improvement.
This is going to be fun! Join me on November 8th at Morton's to learn more about social media, online advertising, Linked-In, Twitter and Facebook for business! There is limited space for this event, so sign up early!
Morton's The Steakhouse in White Plains is hosting a 'Meat & Tweet' on November 8th. Learn about social networking and on-line advertising, dine on great food and network with other business folks!