New Year, More Anxiety for Local Business Owners – From a column we produced running in The Hunterdon County Democrat and

While 2012 may have been a lackluster year for business, this curative approach could dispel much of the pent up anxiety small business owners may have experienced in 2012. The New Year often brings on strategic planning and tactical reviews to hopefully have a better year ahead. Once the reflective period and resolution setting period is past, the New Year can mean improved revenues, profitability and sustainability as companies learn to embrace inbound marketing.

According to John Hyman, the “Overseer of Order” at Zen Marketing Inc in Flemington, “business owners should take advantage of proven, modern marketing practices such as cross channel marketing and inbound marketing. But because they get so wrapped up in the day to day running of the business they seldom are able to market effectively by themselves. Now is the time every business owner should be assessing his or her marketing plan and critically evaluating every tool in the company’s marketing toolbox.“

For many business owners the start of the New Year brings a lot of anxiety. It means another 365 days of trying to exceed the previous year’s revenue goals and to find that elusive formula to achieve, or at least maintain current profitability levels at a minimum. According to Hyman, combining cross channel marketing and inbound marketing can be the elixir of change that sparks renewed vigor into sagging revenue streams. What may sound like an easy to prescribe remedy, Hyman states the process is more complex than many small business may have the time or expertise to perform without assistance.

Attention sign trans“Inbound marketing is a process that drives top of mind awareness to an intended audience, and over time creates a high level of new customers without having to resort to cold calling. While Inbound marketing involves many of the same tactics used in cross channel marketing” says Hyman, “it is simply based on “getting found” and establishing your company’s credibility”.

“Cold calls are annoying and interruptive. At Zen Marketing we coach a measurable approach that brings potential new customers to the business rather than just constantly just pushing out sales messages. In my workshops and consulting sessions I often ask for a show of hands of everyone who took action as a result of a cold call; I seldom see a hand raised. Yet these same companies often use outdated tactics such as these for lead and sales generation.”

“Cross channel marketing involves the coordination of multiple marketing channels such as email and social media marketing with an interactive website as a foundation. Companies come to us because they want to be able to integrate these processes utilizing a multi-channel approach, but don’t have the resources or knowledge to go it alone.”

In the month of January Zen Marketing will be offering 10 Hunterdon County businesses a free inbound marketing evaluation. Local business looking for a better understanding of their inbound marketing effectiveness can enter to win at

But “a good marketing plan should be diverse and blend different discipline and tactics” states Chris Halligan, owner of Associated Mailing & Printing, in Branchburg NJ and a frequent partner with Zen Marketing. “We work with marketing companies and businesses directly to help them maximize the cross channel marketing opportunity and other print-related tactics.”

“New technologies such as PURLS have added a whole new layer of effectiveness to print marketing. We can now provide our customers with amazing analytics and a level of customer engagement previously unimaginable”.

PURL’s or Personalized URLs invite each mail recipient to their own “private screening” of a product or service. “Imagine not only being able to provide a prospect with a distinct message and but also being able to understand the what, when and where of the interaction between the prospect and your marketing piece”.

“A recent survey I read stated that 1 out of every three people who receive a direct mail piece in the mail prefer to respond online. It’s just how we do things today. Our approach integrates the best of both worlds”.