There are as of today twelve weeks left in 2009. Around the corner a new year, new opportunities and, hopefully, a new economy awaits. There are a lot of things you can do to enhance your prospects for 2010. One of the most important is to begin work on your marketing plan for next year. TRO will be using the next six weeks of The 365 Guide to assist you in doing exactly that.
The most successful agents work with a written marketing plan. The time you spend planning and thinking about your travel practice will be invaluable. One of the common syndromes of business people is to spend so much time “in” their business that they spend no time “on” their business.Your marketing plan is not fixed in stone, you will re-visit it throughout the year, making adjustments as circumstances change. A marketing plan is organic – it grows as your practice grows and it has to be allowed the flexibility to change as necessary.
That said, however, putting your plan in writing is still very important. Firstly, when we move from a thought to writing, we better understand the thought. What we understand innately or intuitively takes on a different reality when we are forced to articulate. Writing brings clarity to thought. When we are capable of better articulating a thought, we are better at communicating it to others – a pretty important concept in marketing!
Secondly, putting a plan in writing provides a set of benchmarks by which we can gauge our progress. If we said we would acquire 10 new FIT clients by Valentine’s Day, our Marketing Plan will remind us daily of that goal. It will allow us to measure successes and to adjust for failures. If a plan is not in writing, you are less likely to hold yourself accountable. What is not written cannot be well measured and what is not well measured cannot be managed.
We begin working with 2010 by asking you to do a “marketing audit” – 50 “Yes or No” questions that will give you a picture of your current marketing plan status. From there we assist you to develop a mission statement, goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. We will help you to determine which marketing channels of distribution to use and which tactics to employ in each. Then we will review your plans for communicating with your clients next year. Because marketing is about acquiring new clients and retaining your existing clientele, we will take a hard look at how effectively you are doing both.
Each daily step toward your 2010 marketing plan will take time out of your day, requiring some work and dedication to complete the process. But the end result will return so much more for your effort. We look forward to working through the process with you.
TRO today also launches a new cruise column “Deck Plans“. We are proud to announce that well known travel writer Ralph Grizzle will be heading up our new cruise section.
TRO’s editorial mission is to enhance the lives of travel professionals. We hope that you feel we are succeeding in fulfilling that mission.