In the last stretch of the year, we’re accustomed to helping clients with their final push. The last campaign. The marketing plan for 2010. And then, the inevitable last sprint to use the marketing dollars in preparation for a January bang.
It’s been a little different this year. It’s not that our clients aren’t doing Q4 activity or preparing for Q1, but their approach is a little more surgical. In several cases, Q4 performance is so tight that clients are opting to not use their budgets to ensure the Q4 margins are the best they can be. In other cases, clients whose Fiscal year ends in March, who typically have an active fourth quarter of promotions are directing their investments into Sales activities and programs with inside sales and account managers.
It is smart to do these things when this quarter’s numbers are a make or break proposition. In the long run however, this approach alone without a consistent investment in longer term gains and activities can be dangerous.
In 2010, while you focus on greater performance, increased leads, shorter sales cycles, and higher margin product promotions, be sure to commit yourself to a percentage of strategies and activities that deliver longer-term payoffs. The only way to get out of a week-by-week and month-by-month performance chase is to do the things that will deliver a big bang to the bottom line. Not incremental gains or campaigns that deliver to projection. Instead make time for your BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) and do a little work toward it each quarter while you’re turning the crank and watching the numbers.