1. Make absolutely sure you know what your customers want.
There is so much competition in every marketplace, that one misstep can cause havoc to your bottom line. Budget resources for qualitative and/or quantitative research. Spend some personal time behind the scenes to make sure you are delivering the product and service that your customers need and want.
2. Protect your “golden egg” at all costs.
There is always a temptation to expand by moving resources from a product line that seems to be in good shape and taking care of itself to one that is not. Don’t do it unless you can ensure that your flagship cannot be sabotaged by yours or competitors’ efforts.
3. Make sure your products and services are easy to buy.
Nothing is more discouraging for a customer than wanting to know more or order a product and not being able to access the information or purchase it. It does not make you popular, and we all know that being liked by your customers is the key to loyalty. While you are building demand, make sure you make filling it easy and relationship-building.
4. Have a social media strategy.
Don’t get trapped by a sense of urgency to be in social media because it’s there and everyone else does it. Social media, like any other marketing tactic, must deliver a return on investment. Investigate where your audience is, research how they are talking about your products and services, and determine how you will get a pay back for engaging them in social media.
5. Keep your Chief Marketing Communications Officer in the Management Suite.
In the oversaturated communications world we live in, you cannot afford not to take communications into account with all your stakeholders, internal and external, as you make any major plans. More and more companies are elevating Marketing Communications to the C-suite for that reason. I don’t know of any company that should not have a CMO.
Planning and forecasting is fun and exhilarating. Enjoy the process and look forward to increased success in 2014. And in case you get stuck, you’ve got friends here at Bouvier Kelly ready and waiting to help you.

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