Creative target and business marketing goals with a yellow pencil in the shape of a dart aiming for innovation and invention through focus and strategy planning on white.

To many, it seems incredible to be in the fourth quarter of the year (us included). The fourth quarter is an interesting quarter as we see many businesses ramping up for holiday sales and others using the quarter to evaluate the current year’s marketing and planning for the next year. In either account, this quarter is an important one.

If you are evaluating the current year’s marketing before the close of the year, consider how you are going to do this. Do you currently have set goals, measurement tools in place, and time to give a proper evaluation of your overall marketing? Were there any unanticipated changes or challenges that would affect your data? For example, if you looked a the sales goals that you set for the year and coming up short, what are all the factors that play into that? Did your sales staff change? Did your product offering change? Did your delivery or service times change? While it would nice and easy to take the money spent in marketing and have it perfectly equate to the sales, most often it isn’t that simple.

It may be beneficial to look to an outside source to ask the questions you may not ask of yourself. It is hard to consider some of these factors when you are so engrossed with the day to day activities of running your own business. If you do consider taking the time to bring someone in to evaluate with you, you will need to give them some time and your attention. Schedule a couple hours with them. This will allow them to ask several questions, and draw more data for you giving you a better summary in the end.

If you are ramping up marketing during this time, it is not too late to work with a company that can take much of that off your plate. If you have sales that come in during this quarter, chances are there is a lot more that is required of you beyond marketing efforts to hit your goals for the year. Consider what has to be done by you and what are things that you can or should outsource. If you place traditional media such as radio and TV in a market, that is something an outside source can handle for you. I would consider one point for all your media placement. If you work with several reps the overall spend may be larger than needed. A more holistic approach to media will possibly save you money but should give you better market coverage and the optimal frequency with your desired audience.

If you do not use traditional media as a part of your plan, that may be ok. Again, it all depends on the goals and the company. However, there are very few industries that I can think of that would not benefit from online marketing. I know that may sound a bit biased since that is what we do but it is true. Online marketing delivers so many opportunities. It is a great way to support the sales cycle. Because many companies rely on fourth-quarter sales to be strong, there is a lot of competition for buyers attention this time of year. Online marketing can help your sales in more subtle but impactful ways. Online marketing can help with prospecting by use of paid ads. Paid ads are a great way to have your product featured to those searching for it or who fit the profile of who use it. There are many ways that online ads can be targeted allowing for the efficiency of your marketing dollars.

Online marketing also gives tremendous opportunity to build trust and credibility as well as educate buyers. People spend time online and many will trust an online review or recommendation to influence their buying decision before talking to any sales department representative or come into the store. Having materials online in various forms will help you connect and sell. Explaining your product or service using web content, videos, blogs, and social media posts will help you build a base audience this year, initiate sales this year, and build for potential growth for next year.

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