Have you ever cut wood with a screwdriver? Or melted glass with a match?

The right tools make all the difference, especially when you're designing a customer communications strategy that needs to cut across several target audiences. Before you build your plan for the coming year, step back, measure twice and follow these tips to help you nail down a successful strategy.

Use your brand objectives as a foundation
In the rush to "get something out," you may find yourself planning and executing marketing pieces without first developing measurable goals and strategies to support them. Resist this trap by writing down your overall brand objectives and keeping them in plain view -- perhaps near your computer or phone.

With these objectives in mind, look at your product and service lines to determine specific goals, both quantitative and qualitative. In addition to response and revenue, think about longer-term targets, which include:

brand recognition and recall -- how well your target audience remembers your brand when making a decision;

brand loyalty -- the amount of repeat business and cross-selling you can derive from continual and consistent marketing;

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