Instant gratification is what we’ve come to expect in all areas of our life. Instant everything. Instant messages, email, internet. Instant food, instant money, instant medical service, diagnosis, and an instant cure, the faster the better. We no longer have the patience for a snail-mail reply time of a week or more. We expect an email response within milliseconds of hitting the send button. We’ve put aside the virtue of patience and simply want instant gratification. There’s nothing wrong with wanting something and wanting it now. But good advertising just doesn’t work that way.

Before you begin to plan your advertising budget for 2010, you need to ask yourself what your goals are. Do you want your business to become a household name while you maintain and communicate your core values? Or, do you need to maximize bonuses without any regard for the longer term consequences by offering sale after sale. Unfortunately, price promotions don’t create brand loyalty they train your customers to wait for a sale. Price promotions will produce up and down sales figures but at what cost?

An impatient Business Owner doesn’t think about how their sale habit may destroy their overall business longevity and health. They may start with a 10% off everything in store promotion which then becomes half off everything in stock. Each new promotion must be bigger and better than the last to achieve the sales goal of getting the most people in the door.

The most successful businesses and the ones that stay around the longest are those who invest in a well-conceived and well-developed marketing plan. They understand what makes them unique and who their target market is and where to reach that market whether it is online, offline or a mix of both. They are the ones who use their advertising dollars as a planned business expense to develop long term sales and profits throughout the year. As entrepreneurs and business owners, we need to step back and plan on working for the long-term which is vital to our future business success.

(We plan on taking a break from posting Friday, December 25th and January 1st for Christmas and New Years Day. In the midst of business, work, family and life’s obligations, may your Christmas be a time to reflect on the simplicity of Christ’s birth and the magnitude of His purpose.)