Holes in a Wall

In a couple of weeks I can expect to begin seeing many blog posts, webinars and white papers on goal-setting for the new year. Grrrrrrrrrrrr!

It’s not that I don’t like setting goals, I think it’s essential as a tool leading to success. But it’s mighty difficult to squeeze in the time for this task.

January came and went with a flurry of activities, making goal-setting and review a task that kept getting shoved to the back burner.

(Note to self: You can’t achieve any goals unless you set them in the first place!)

You also have difficulty setting goals if you haven’t truly assessed what did and didn’t work in the past year. How else will you know if a new strategy for pulling in clients is working? Did you forget to employ specific support tactics to reinforce your strategy?

This year I vowed to get a head start on this activity by reviewing how 2011 went so I can strategize for an even-better 2012.

For you, I’ve got a little questionnaire to help you assess how your marketing is going. Then you’ll have some ideas what you need to change and upgrade for 2012.

Keeping the ‘pipeline’ full with new prospective clients is an absolute necessity for small business owners. And whether or not you do your marketing yourself, or hire someone to do all or part of it for you (so you can focus on other core competencies in your business), it’s important to assess how you’re doing with your marketing.

Marketing Core Competencies Test

INSTRUCTIONS: Take the test twice. First, read through each statement below and write your score on each competency on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = poor, 10 = excellent) from your own point of view. Second, read each statement again and then score each answer from the perspective of a client. (Take note of the disparity in scores for any one competency!)

  1. I see every contact with my customers and prospects as marketing. My words, attitudes, and actions are intentional and based on my marketing goals.
  2. I look at my marketing activities from the customer’s point of view. I consistently make time to ask my customers and prospects what it is they really want.
  3. I am aggressive in my marketing efforts.
  4. My marketing attack includes an assortment of strategies. I make use of many of the hundreds of marketing weapons available to me.
  5. If I surveyed my customers today, they would agree that I follow up in a timely and consistent manner.
  6. I consistently use a marketing calendar to track and measure the effectiveness of my marketing weapons.
  7. My friends, prospects, and customers would say that I am enthusiastic and consistently positive in all my interactions with them.
  8. I have a clearly defined marketing niche.
  9. I have a clear and specific marketing plan to guide my weekly actions.
  10. I use online marketing as one of my major marketing weapons. I use email, a website, and the vast power of the Internet to reach new prospects and communicate with customers.
  11. I build strong one-on-one relationships with my prospects and customers, knowing that people buy from friends rather than from strangers.
  12. My business is oriented toward giving. I provide free consultations, tips, gifts, and information. I make generosity a part of my overall marketing plan.
  13. I look for ways to amaze my customers by providing exceptional service.
  14. I consistently use my imagination to develop marketing strategies that are unconventional and that will capture the attention of my target market.
  15. I actively work on developing strategic alliances with other businesses.
  16. I take consistent action on my marketing plan.

The areas where you scored low represent obstacles to improving your company’s marketing strategy and execution.

Low scoring areas should go into your to-do goals for 2012 to address! I’ll get into each of these competencies in future posts. But feel free to email or comment here, in the meantime, if you have questions on anything in this list.

TIP: Take this test every year to see what you might have been accidentally overlooking.