The Year That Will Be…
It’s fun to think of what a new year will bring for your business. In comparison to last year, where will you be one year from today? How will you get there? What will you change and what will you do the same? How will you adapt to en evolving sales and marketing landscape?
The good news is that, in the answer, it’s up to you. You control your destiny these next 12 months, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes (credit: Broadway musical “Rent” for that breakdown). However, how you optimize the opportunities and overcome the challenges that lie ahead will impact your overall business success and the magnitude of it. So, are you up for embracing 2012 with an iconic bang or a lackluster whimper?
Here are some of my predictions for sales and marketing in 2012, in no particular order. I hope this helps with how you plan and optimize the year that will be. If you disagree or have some predictions of your own, please feel free to share them with me via email at abiasismartmarketingllccom.
1. Doing “more with less” will continue to prevail operationally. I hear it too often but every business has adapted to the economic changes by cutting something. The irony is that they’ve gotten used to it and are reluctant to bounce back to pre-recession levels due to obvious fear. Therefore, there’s a greater interest to be efficient with time and resources and most effective with what you have to accomplish your sales and marketing goals.
2. Mobile will be the breakout-marketing tactic. Social was the big thing two years ago and based on the number of QR codes and statistics of growth in mobile (purchases made over mobile phones, mobile searches for products/searches and revenues from apps, etc., to name a few), mobile will be one new tactic for many to communicate, engage and solicit response from new and existing prospect customers. Be on the lookout for carriers (i.e. Sprint, AT&T, Verizon) to offer mobile marketing solutions like app creation, commerce, etc. Get in the game with an app (create one at magmito.com) and start thinking how you will integrate mobile into your marketing mix to gain a competitive advantage.
3. Innovation in marketing and sales will differentiate leaders within your space. Yesterday I attended a “house concert” put on by a friend where a talented singer/songwriter from New York performed for about one hour. The gigs were free to the host and guests yet the artist brought and sold a ton of merchandise (CDs, shirts, sunglasses). He essentially took the Tupperware and Avon models yet used his own music as the product—and “brought the product to the customer.” Brilliance like this in changing up the model within your own business and/or industry will drive innovative sales and, more importantly, build a customer network of significant value. In summary: “Think about bringing your product/service to the customer,” “Be Creative and think out of the box” “Reverse the traditional model of customers finding out about you and sell-through to get there.”
4. Retail will go gangbuster. How will you get your piece of the pie? I am still amazed at the sales increase percentages of this past holiday season. 15 – 25%+ is insane to think of considering we’re still in recessionary times. What? This leads me to believe that consumers are willing to buy given the right situation, price and incentives/offers. Figure out your mix and drive them into the stores to buy. They’re out there and they’re buying!
5. Social networking will continue to drive new ways to promote and sell your products and services to a larger number of customers. If you’re not using social media to achieve a marketing objective of some sort (i.e. customer acquisition, branding/thought leader, direct sales) it’s not too late to get into the game. Each Facebook user belongs to 80 community pages, groups and event. They have an average of 130 friends. Tap into that and it’s the best referral opportunity your business could ask for.
6. The definition of marketing will remain unchanged and just as valuable as years past. Just as the best diet is understood to be less calories + more exercise, the best marketing in 2012 will continue to be “getting the right message to the right people at the right time to create, grow and/or sustain profitable customer relationships.” Period. I thought it was necessary to mention this as we, as marketers and business professionals are so easily diverted or search for the short cut, or secret, to business success.
7. Traditional media will merge with contemporary media and new business models will be forged. There will be a new resurgence for the value of magazines and other traditional media that reach targeted audiences where and when your products/services are most influential. Consider the Tesco case study from a few topics back and how they achieved a number one objective by using traditional display advertising in a subway station with mobile as the transactional addition. You can do the same with your small to medium sized business!
8. Economic times will seem like they’re improving. Unemployment will decrease and there will be an increasing focus on leadership. 2012 is an election year, which suspiciously means to me (call me cynical) that statistics, resulting outcomes and other programs (of the past years) for business will take on favorable tones for political purposes. There may be some opportunity to seize the day and play into that, if you’re wise. Keep in mind that leadership and foresight will be key in determining what this means for your business now and in the future—be proactive in your thinking and planning.
9. Faster growth will be the new marketing and sales objective. So you’ve cut all the fat from your company in terms of employees, overhead and resources. It’s likely you’ve stabilized cash flow and maybe even showed an increase in profitability because of these changes. Now what? How will you take what you have and achieve faster growth? Will it be with new product/service innovation, higher margin products/services only or customer segmentation, focusing on the few that will bring the highest return?
10. SMART business people will prevail. An enhanced skillset and/or contemporary understanding of executing sales and marketing is something you simply cannot take away and almost always results in an advantage over your competition while making you more marketable. Get in a habit of learning as much as you can to do sales and marketing better and more efficiently. Take a class (selfish plug here: take the NYU Mobile Marketing for the Small to Medium-sized Business class online taught by yours truly) to get up to speed on something new and/or required to achieve business success in 2012.
Make 2012 the “best year ever for your business.” And, don’t settle for anything short of this. Happy New Year.
About the Author
Angelo Biasi is General Manager of SMART Marketing Solutions, LLC, a leading full-service integrated marketing company in Florida and New York since 2001. He has helped create and execute marketing plans and integrated marketing solutions for companies such as Playtex, Bic, Rogaine, Tauck, and over 35 colleges and universities, to name a few. Angelo has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Connecticut and teaches Marketing at New York University where he has for over six years. He has been quoted and/or featured in USA Today, Mobile Marketer magazine, Mobile Commerce Daily, Luxury Marketing magazine, BNET TV and Business Currents magazine, to name a few. For more information or to learn more, email him at abiasismartmarketingllccom (abiasismartmarketingllccom) , visit www.smartmarketingllc.com, call him at 239.963.9396 and follow him on Twitter @angbiasi.