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Cintia Miranda Cintia Miranda
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Website: pulsemarketingagency.com

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Grab a drink and take a break

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Fall is a wonderful time for us to review our marketing programs - to take stock of where we stand and where we wish to bring our organizations in the upcoming year. Annual assessment provides invaluable information: recognition of past successes, guidance for future strategies and most importantly insight on how to keep delivering the best services possible.

Now is the time to take a close look at every marketing activity we've executed this year so far and to measure its performance. Most of us have some way to track our marketing efforts. Some have advanced analytical tools, while others keep a simple Excel spreadsheet with information about how new customers end up at their doorstep. Regardless of the method, the point is to trace where our leads are coming from, which were converted into business and which leads were not fruitful. Along with these factors, it's also important to consider how much effort was put into each marketing activity (time, funds), the length of the activity (is it too soon to measure it?) and how well each activity was planned and deployed. It is vital that we are honest with ourselves during this exercise, so that we can realistically determine whether it makes sense to continue with each activity in the upcoming year and, if so, what can be done to improve the process and results.

A careful assessment can save you trouble in the long run. Before you get ready to work on your 2013 marketing plan and budget, grab a warm cup of apple cider, a pad of paper and a pen (or your iPad) and take 15 minutes to go through this exercise. Then, share it with a colleague or business partner and get their feedback. Talk it out with someone; listen to what they have to say. You'll notice how much this exercise will help you develop a better marketing plan, as well as account for all of your projected marketing costs.

Each fall, I feel invigorated by the promise of the coming new year and with it, a chance to improve my business performance. But the first step is simply taking stock of where I stand. So go ahead and grab your favorite fall drink and start working on your own assessment. You'll be glad you did!

Cntia Miranda is the president of Pulse Marketing Agency. Learn more about her work at www.pulsemarketingagency.com.

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