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The end of the year is quickly approaching, and you know what that means?

Year end billing, collections, reviews, trying to get some holiday cards out (don’t get me started), do some shopping, enjoy some family time … and create a marketing plan and budget for 2012.

But before you bid adieu to 2011, take 5 minutes, review your year and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Any new clients of note?
  • Any new matters of interest?
  • What about decisions (published or not)?
  • Any big wins for the client (Not necessarily trials. What about settlements?)?
  • What about interesting or complex deals?
  • Did you establish new case law? Or impact your client’s industry?
  • What did you do that caused the client to pick up the phone and call? (good or bad)
  • Did you exchange business cards with anyone interesting (reporter, head of an industry trade group, a potential referral source)?
  • Did you speak anywhere? Provide any client CLE courses?
  • Did you join anything (social media networks, trade associations, industry groups, bar associations, new clubs – personal or professional)?
  • What conferences did you attend?
  • Did you write any articles or have something published?
  • What did you turn down or refer elsewhere?
  • Where did you go and what did you do there? Could you have done more with that time?
  • What did you mean to do but forgot, or ran out of time?
  • What did you do that was a waste or time, money or resources?

So, you answered the questions above. Now what?

  • Share them with your marketing director (if you have one).
  • Update your bio where you can.
  • Use the information to guide you in creating your marketing plan for 2012.

Use your experience from THIS year to write NEXT year’s marketing plan (here’s a link to a simple one I created if you don’t already have a template), and set a budget. If you didn’t accomplish everything you wanted to, no big deal. If it’s doable, plug it into 2012. If it’s unimportant and won’t drive your business or personal marketing/branding, cross it off the list.

Marketing plans should be achievable. By seeing how much you were able to accomplish in 2011, you can see how much more you can do in 2012 by being strategic and deliberate in your actions.