We’re almost into 2012 and if you haven’t created an official marketing plan, you’ve at least been thinking about what marketing activities you’re going to invest in for the next year.

Choosing among the myriad strategies and tools to implement them can be a real challenge. And not every company has a mission or purpose that lend themselves to easy adaptation to your marketing strategies — so what do you do?

How to create a commitment

Commitments are tricky little things. There are things we SAY that we are committed to (like our family or truth) but our actions may say otherwise. And then there are things we are really committed to (like golfing or friends or football) that are consistent with where we spend out money and our time.

Think about where you spend your time, effort and resources inside of your business?

  1. Make a list of things you say or want to be committed to. You know this list — I’m committed to customer service, on-time deliveries, delighting customers These are things that we share with other people and talk about doing, but may or may not have put the time or effort into. Or when circumstances present themselves, we find ourselves, whining, complaining or just not doing it.
  2. Make a list of “secret” commitments i.e. I’m committed to playing golf with customers or I’m committed to getting a promotion or going to California in January. These are those tiny commitments that drive your actions but aren’t cool or politically correct.
  3. Make a list or keep track of your time just to see where you put your energy throughout the day, the week, the month or the year.
  4. Bring in your team and choose your commitments. Share those hidden agendas and see if you can pair them up with the commitments you’re making to your business.
How solid commitments make marketing easy

Once you’re clear on what it is that you are committed to as a business, your marketing strategies will suddenly become more obvious and easy. In fact, you’ll be able to quickly prioritize where to put your money and your time. The beauty of bringing your commitments to the forefront of your marketing strategy is that it will allow you to take control of your marketing activities instead of them controlling you.

Here is a list of some possible commitments you can make in your marketing strategy and how those commitments would drive your actions:

Making it easy for customers to buy from us

This is often an unspoken commitment that drives every marketing strategy. In being unspoken, however, it gets lost int he mire. When you have this commitment you’ll want to look at all the possible areas where you customer or prospect has choices and see what opportunities you give them to choose you.

  • Get a list of all the common directories where your customers might search for you
  • Get optimized for search engines – are you listed on Google Places? Is your web site optimized for the common keywords that your customer may use? Do you need or have landing pages that clearly state your offer and any other information that your customer may need to make the decision to buy from you
  • Evaluate and improve your proposals
  • Take a look at your selling cycle. How long is it, what are the obstacles your customers have in making the decision to buy from you? What additional information do they need that would make choosing you OBVIOUS?
Giving a new market access to your products and services
  • What market research can you do so that you can understand the buying triggers that your customers have?
  • Who are the influencers in this market segment and how can you easily reach them?
  • What does your marketing mix need to look like?
  • How can you structure pricing so that more customers will buy?
Let your commitments drive your to-do list
The challenge with most marketing activities is that they come, go and change so quickly that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Focusing on your commitments will make it easy for your team members to become more engaged and more empowered because they will understand the higher objective.
In a world where social media is a critical component of your marketing strategy – being clear on your commitments to your markets and your customers will give everyone clearer parameters on what to write about for blog posts, how to help customers and how to be more valuable to your organization.