I am constantly asked this by clients, colleagues and students. I wish there was one silver-bullet answer to that question. After the dot.com era and 9-11, all bets were off when it came to relying on historic marketing performance metrics. As the dust settled, the global economic downturn agitated an ability to track any revived trends and halted productive long term decision-making. In the Midwest, our Wichita metropolitan market, a dominant aerospace manufacturing mecca, remained stymied by both 9-11 and by the recent economic challenges. Consequently, it affects all our community economics (i.e. employment and ultimately spending).
Knock on wood, but it appears that marketers in our area are slowly reestablishing their marketing efforts. When I talk with marketing colleagues in other cities, they too have optimism there is light at the end of the tunnel.
While we’re not out of the woods, there are solutions to constructively help address marketing challenges. First, attitudes are changing. But it takes individuals’ actions to soundly impact the masses. Secondly, I notice our Wichita Marketers engaging in growth oriented conversations focusing on strategic long term planning, out of the box innovative ideas. More importantly, I am proud to say Wichita Marketers are now implementing their strategic plans. Point is, they are not just talking the talk. We have started walking the walk. In future articles, I want to highlight some of the innovative and leading edge strategies our Wichita marketing community is executing.
In the short term, the best answer to a silver bullet are my “3-Ts”. Stay in Touch, stay in Tune, and stay on Task. Here is a little insight to each.
Stay in Touch – with colleagues, acquaintances and marketing leadership through networking using popular and successful social media tools like Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, Naymz, Ragan and others that allow you to have interactive dialog on the industry and related topics. Share ideas. Get new Ideas. It’s important to build your electronic networking rolodex with contact names, addresses, phone numbers, email and website contact information. These can be vital to your networking success and exposure among your industry peers.
Just a side note on utilizing the above social media tools? Be careful what you say and what you post. It can make or break any potential business relationships. It appears Linked-In has the respect and heaviest participation among business individuals. Twitter is certainly represented among marketers. Facebook and the other social meeting places still raise a corporate brow of concern. At least, this is the impression I notice in our region.
Stay Tuned – subscribe to top industry newsletters and e-newsletters. Keep updated with the latest marketing trends, stats and data research. It is also beneficial to search out professional organizations relevant to your industry. Most medium to large cities have local chapters providing an industry branch at your convenience. In Wichita, there are two strong industry specific organizations. The national AMA, with 74 national chapters, has a Wichita Chapter, Wichita American Marketing Association (WAMA) that has a very large membership and broad appeal drawing business and nonprofit marketers, public relations, advertising and media professionals; while the Wichita Society for Marketing Professionals Services (SMPS) targets marketers in the design and building industries. These organizations also provide national certification, research resources and an assortment of publications and periodicals that focus primarily on all the latest trends, strategies and innovation in respective industries. I’m sure there are more, but you can only read so much and avoid publications or e-newsletters that may dilute what your professional focus or intent is when networking or connecting with same-thought industry professionals.
Stay on Task – It takes organization, prioritizing your daily agenda with the 3T’s in mind, so you maximize your time on core marketing-only related activity and initiatives that effects the bottom line. Once you make your marketing plan, stick to it! My mantra is ”Make the Plan – Work the Plan”. We will get into aspects of a marketing plan and development in another segment. For now, it’s wise to concentrate efforts on your own business plan, objectives and execution, followed by measuring your success, tweaking weak spots and executing again. It is important to utilize your research resources offered through an AMA or SMPS that will provide the most recent national and international marketing trends and economic status.
Whether you’re a seasoned professional, a recent graduate just entering the industry, or if you have recently relocated to South Central Kansas, these 3-Ts will refresh or set you up for a good fast-start into your marketing worlds’ activities. Then, it’s up to you to do the rest.