Marketing has gone through a revolution over the last few years and month. It seems like every month a new idea hits the market place. Gone are the days when it was as simple as writing a newspaper advert and the job was done. The retailer of today has to consider the social media, conventional promotions, word of mouth marketing, loyalty schemes and a host of other ideas to develop their business. All these new ways of developing and growing your business have been proven to work by retailers and small business, but the real challenge is implementation in your own business. The down turn and uncertainty in the market place due to the financial meltdown in 2008 has resulted in most small businesses considering downsizing and either shedding staff or not recruiting more staff. In 2010 many economies around the world are still “soft” with governments bringing in stricter governing regulations and as a result retailers are still nervous about growth in the economy. This really came home to me when I had a conversation with my local travel agent. We were having a conversation about marketing and she mentioned that the challenge was not developing new ideas, but having the time to implement those ideas. She was confident that if she had the time she could develop her business and spread the message about how good her service was helping her customers. She is aware of the marketing secret for 2011 ….. it is TIME. Those businesses that can find time to develop their marketing strategy are those that will prosper in 2011. I was recently working with a client and his reaction was very similar. His comment was “I am too busy to do marketing, I need all my time to just keep the business afloat, when the business is going well I will give myself more time to do the marketing”. The extra pressure that retailers and small business are feeling at present is resulting in less people doing more work and as a result they are not having time to develop their business. This strategy will work in the short term, but in the long term it will result in a reduction in customers as other businesses gear up to develop their marketing strategies and attract customers away from your business. TIME SAVERS The key to developing your business in the next few months is going back to the basics of management and looking at how you can use time more effectively to allow you and your team to develop marketing strategies for the business in 2011. My top 7 Tips are as follows: Write down your goals as far as marketing is concerned. What do you want to achieve and by when. I think the key is to write them down rather than just think about them and to put a date to the time you will have achieved these goals. When travelling give yourself a target to achieve. I am a typical “Road Warrior” and use the time at airports and on flights to achieve work goals, you may not be an air traveller, but travel time can still be a valuable time to catch up and research what marketing you need to develop. Do not procrastinate. Set a deadline, write it down and do it. Tell work colleagues and family members what you are doing so they can help you develop your goals. Balance your time between traditional marketing and social media marketing. It is easy to get engrossed in one at the expense of the other. You will need both techniques in your tool kit for 2011. Is there something that you can delegate to allow you to invest more time in the things that will make a difference in your business. For some of us it may be worth delegating the marketing, for others it may mean delegating other areas of work. Measure the success of marketing. Measure how you are achieving more customers and the increase in the average sale per customer. This will give you the motivation and confidence to develop your marketing skills Reward yourself when you have achieved your goals in marketing. I am confident that 2011 will result in more unique marketing ideas being presented to all of us and it will be easy to feel swamped by all these ideas. My advice is keep it as simple as you can set some goals and make sure you achieve them.