Monday, January 28, 2008

Marketing: A Definition

The art of spending dimes to make dollars

To learn how to spend your dimes more wisely, contact TPC.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Successful Planning: Key Elements

Does the thought of planning out your marketing and business growth strategy for the coming year have you holding your head in pain and agony? Well, it shouldn't! Creating and then executing a sound marketing plan will pay huge dividends throughout the year, not only in terms of greater sales and stronger relationships with customers and prospects, but also for the simple fact that you can sleep a little better at night knowing that you're operating from a written plan and not "flying by the seat of your pants."

O.K., so what should go into a marketing plan? The marketing plans I help my clients develop are 1-2 pages in length, and focus on these big-picture areas:

1. Develop an overall "theme" for the year. This can take many forms, such as: A new product launch or a new focus on X. I strongly recommend that you develop a theme, which will give you a launching-off point for your marketing.

2. Develop a specific revenue target. Again, this usually is something like: We want to increase sales 15% over the previous year.

3. Develop a series of related marketing activities. Just like you can't eat a single meal and never be hungry again, marketing is not a one-time thing. The best marketing plans feature a series of related activities over the entire year. I usually like to think in terms of: one major marketing event per quarter. And ideally, each of these marketing events will be tied to your overall theme for the year.

4. Focus on an ongoing communication program to your best clients. Too many business owners focus, in my opinion, on landing new clients...and forget to market to their existing clients. I believe you should contact your clients ideally once a month, and at the worse, every other month.

5. Try at least one new "thing." Again, this can be anything from launching a new product (such as, for example, a blog to help business owners [!]) to trying a new marketing tool, such as an email newsletter. Trying new things keeps your ideas fresh and your juices flowing, and also sends a message to your clients and prospects that you are fresh, current, and cutting-edge.

6. Always be thinking about the following year. Is your web site getting outdated? Do you want to mount a major PR campaign? These things take time to develop and launch. If planned in advanced, however, they can be developed creatively, with as little disruption to your current activities as possible, and with the costs spread throughout several months.

Again, these are big-picture topics. Your marketing plan will have specifics, too. Yes, planning takes time and energy, but it is worth it. A sound marketing plan will point you in the right direction this year, and the following year. If you don't plan, however, you'll fall into the trap which Yogi Berra once so elegantly described (as only Yogi could!): "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Successful Planning: Review

Though the trees are dormant right now, there is still growth going on below the surface. You should think of your business in the same terms--business growth planning now will lead to business growth successes later this year. January is a great time to create business growth and/or marketing plans. (I believe September and October are the perfect times to begin planning for the next year, but that'll be a topic for another post.) Before we jump into planning for this new year, however, there's an important step to take first: reviewing the previous year. Here are some questions to ask regarding your business results for the past year:

What were total sales? By segment or product? Were sales greater than or less than the previous period, and by how much?

What worked particularly well (new product, marketing initiative, etc.) last year?

What didn't work as well as we had planned for?

What new business or revenue opportunities "jumped out at us" last year?

What business weaknesses (be it staffing, web site, etc.) also jumped out at us, in terms of needing to develop or improve?

Once you have specific answers to the just-asked questions, you can begin to move forward with your planning for the coming year.
Next time: 2008 Planning

Success Story: Wine Country Inn

Coming soon...

Motivational Quotes

We'll add our favorite quotes a few at a time. Check back for inspiration, ideas, and guidance.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
~ Anais Nin

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
~ Winston Churchill

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Just What IS This?

Welcome to the launch of Surviving to Thriving. Our goal is simple: to provide ideas, information, and resources to help entrepreneurs launch and/or grow their business. You'll want to check back here frequently, as new content will be added two to three times each week.

Now I know that some of you are looking at this and thinking: What exactly IS this? Is it a blog? Is it a Web site? Or is it ______?

The answer is: All of the above! I call this my "Web Presence." It functions like a Web site, with the added features of a blog. So... (and I've had many, many business owners ask me this) what IS the difference between a blog and a Web site?

Here goes... A Web site provides information. It's a great marketing tool (and almost, in my opinion, imperative for almost every business these days). Web sites, however, have two big (again, in my opinion) limitations though: one, they don't promote interactions with visitors, and two, you need to be a fairly sophisticated programmer/designer (or hire one) to create and manage a Web site.

A blog, on the other hand, functions as a Web site, with these two added features: Blogs are much easier for the average person to create, run, and update frequently; and blogs promote two-way interaction between the blog "owner" and visitors. The blog owner hosts an "Internet diary" of sorts and visitors are allowed to read and comment on anything posted. The tool provides constant and instant feedback.

So again, check back here frequently for great info and ideas on moving your business from "surviving" to "thriving" and don't be shy about posting a comment (such as asking a specific question) on this... this... well, let's just call it a web resource!

Our Mission/Services

Tim Polk Communications (TPC) empowers entrepreneurs to realize their dreams by moving their business from "surviving" to "thriving."

TPC provides creativity with a proven process to produce result$. We do this with our clients by creating and implementing results-focused marketing plans. Specific services include:
~ Marketing Plan Creation, including goals, budgeting, and measurement
~ Messaging / Positioning Development
~ Content Development
~ Marketing Tools Creation (web sites, brochures, etc.)
~ Public Relations (PR) Plans and Implementation
~ Corporate Identity (logos, tag lines, etc.)

Contact us today for a no-obligation assessment of your current marketing efforts.


We are happy to show you examples of our work and discuss the various "success stories" TPC clients have had. To arrange this review, please contact us.

Can We Help You?

We like to think so! To learn more about TPC's services and capabilities, or to discuss with no obligations your business launch or growth challenges, contact TPC today:
Phone: (707) 568-7322