The final touches for my 2009 marketing plan are being completed. I do not recall a period where I have been making such changes this late in the planning process. I bet I’m not alone…

I normally start aggressively working on my next year’s plans right after Labor Day. While everyone is focused on delivering a strong Q3, I’m communicating with others to learn about their aspirations and plans for the upcoming year. I’m also trying to get into the heads of senior management about their expectations. From this information, I head into October with a pretty good sense of what the specific needs and expectations are. It has helped me head into the official planning sessions with a pretty good sense of my resources requirements- be that people or marketing spend.

This year though has been different. In November, we decided to revisit each and every element of our marketing plan to make sure we were prepared to make “changes” rapidly in 2009. This thinking has made us juggle some of our spending commitments in a manner that delays certain funding. I wonder if we are alone in this approach.

One thing we decided to do was to not exhibit at any trade shows this upcoming year. I mean zero. I saw a dramatic drop off in attendance at events starting in October… I bet it continues into 09, until people have greater visibility.

The one area that we have greatly increased our spending and efforts is around online engagement. We are planning to focus a lot of our efforts on our partners and customers.

2009 for me is about creating stronger customer engagements via the internet. What about you?