The New Year is typically a time for making New Year’s resolutions. We try to strike a balance between realistic and optimistic, and conveniently ignore our past failures – measured in weight not lost, books not read, relatives not called. However, for all of us that are responsible for marketing, I have come up with a list of 10 resolutions that can and should be kept. If you do so, your 2010 marketing campaign will be a successful one. So, forget that unused gym membership, here come some resolutions of value! Forget 2009. Sure, analyze it and learn from it – but move on. Today’s economy is our new reality and blaming Wall Street is not an acceptable excuse for not doing well in 2010. We’re all dealing with the same economic environment, which means we have the same opportunities and the same challenges that our competitors do. George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” However, the lesser known, but equally important counterpart to that is, “Those who wallow in the past will never escape it.” Grow success. If something you’ve been doing is working, keep it going and consider expansion. Analyze why it’s working and do more of it. While a successful marketing campaign does require some level of diversity, leaning on those efforts that have been working just makes good sense. Try something new. Have you embraced social marketing? Is your website a source of pride and a great marketing tool, or something you’re a bit embarrassed to share? Are you doing e-blasts, public and community relations? Have you considered old-fashioned direct mail? Ignorance, fear and habit are not good reasons for failing. Let it go. If something has not been working, it’s time to re-evaluate. Tradition is for families and holidays, not marketing. I see too many clients attending expensive trade shows, “because we always have.” Are they really sales and marketing opportunities, or paid vacations to catch up with old friends? Just because you’ve “always” advertised with XYZ, does not mean you should again. Competition. Follow what they are doing. See where they invest, what they are focused on, what new markets they’re exploring, as well as which old ones they are letting go of. It’s very inexpensive market research, and it’s a mistake not to take advantage of it. Full budget. Many companies reduced, or even eliminated, their marketing budget for 2009. Convince yourself, or your boss, that good marketing is an investment, not an expense, and that without it you are doomed to fail. Fight for a budget that allows you to do your job – and do it well. Plan. Now that you’ve pulled together a budget, looked at what’s working, what isn’t and what the competition is doing – plan! Make every dollar count and maximize your Return on Investment (ROI). If you take your budget and your marketing seriously, so will your boss, your board and, most importantly, your customers, clients and prospects. Stick to the plan. Most marketing plans fail because they are not followed. It is so easy to fall back into old habits and do the safe things that we’ve always done. Keep the plan on your desk, not locked away in a filing cabinet. Evaluate each opportunity against the plan. If things change, update the plan, but have one and work it. Customers and clients first, prospects second. While we all enjoy bringing in new business, and need to in order to be successful, don’t lose sight of your existing customers and clients. It is far more expensive to get new business than it is to keep existing business. Be positive! Commiserate in private. To your customers, clients and prospects – be positive. Ask yourself whom you prefer to work with – someone who whines about the economy or how poorly their business is doing, or someone who is upbeat, looking forward and moving ahead? Your marketing should reflect that same positive attitude and image. There you go. You may or may not join the gym, read the book or call Mom and Dad more often, but if you follow these 10 steps in 2010, you will have a more successful year than if you don’t. Good luck and Happy New Year – now get to work! Scott Harris is the owner of Mustang Marketing, a full-service marketing agency serving the San Fernando Valley for more than 20 years. You can reach Scott at Scott@MustangMktg.com or visit Mustang’s website at www.MustangMktg.com.