I was recently asked what advice I had for other marketers in these tough economic times. There are so many things but I narrowed it down to five items.
1. Network, Network, Network - This could be all five items in itself. But constantly building and expanding your professional and personal networks is crucial. You never know when you are going to find yourself out of work and your network is how you get a job. You need references, connections, introductions - and that comes from your network. I recommend LinkedIn - it is absolutely the best for helping you find people from your past life and reconnecting you. I have friends from 15 years ago writing me references.
2. Learn Social Media/Web 2.0 - Companies hiring marketers are often filling one job with many roles. And Web 2.0/Social Media is a big component of what they are looking for. So your first step should be to go out and build a Facebook Page for yourself. Set up a Twitter Account. Create a blog (like this one) where you are putting yourself out there. Also, start following leaders in your market's blog, twitters, and build reciprocal links. This will put you way ahead of people who are solely focused on traditional marketing.
3. Learn something new every day. This is an old adage but an important one. Keep yourself from becoming board by reading and learning new things. You never know when new knowledge you've picked up can help your organization. I have Google Alerts coming in for about 20 topics and I review them all each day to see what is going on in tech and what opportunities there are for my organization.
4. Review your vendors. You are at year end and you are probably dealing with slashed 2009 budgets. So take a look at your vendors carefully and see what can be renegotiated so you can do more with less. I had one vendor under monthly retainer which we could not sustain. Instead I determined when would be the times next year when they would be critically important and negotiated a consulting agreement with them for those times. We saved about 50% but they'll be there when I need them.
5. Reality - what a concept. Make your plans realistic. The greatest challenge I see is people write unrealistic plans or goals and then struggle and ultimately fail to execute. Create a plan you can live with and implement. If you can maintain that focus you can achieve a lot. And make sure to refer back to that plan when you meet with your manager. You need to be flexible but marketing is often about momentum building - so make sure they realize that changes can derail that momentum.