Benjamin Ellis @ Flickr

There’re a lot of options out there for marketers. The tried and true. The fresh and innovative. It’s hard to keep up. And you’re never quite sure if you should be trying that new candy you’ve heard about. And if so, how much of your precious budget should you invest in it?

 You wonder: Are we using Facebook in the right way? Should we invest in paid search and if so, how much? How do we show up higher in Google searches? What is Pinterest and should we be using it? Remember when QR codes were all the rage? What’s next? You’re nervous that you might not be keeping up – like you’re missing out and the world is leaving you behind.

When you feel besieged by new marketing options and budget decisions, consider this advice.

1. Take a fresh inventory of your marketing objectives. Make a prioritized list. How important is brand awareness? Current customer relationships and up-sell? Customer acquisition? A clear set of objectives will act as your compass.

2. Worry first about what you’re doing now. If you’re not employing your current tactics well, then initiating new ones will only make things worse. There will always be something else to do, but there are no silver bullets. So while a genuine Facebook strategy may be a part of your long-range plan, it’s not going to make a meaningful contribution unless it’s part of a well-executed marketing mix. The bottom line is optimal resource allocation and results, not trying to impress everyone with your so-called, cutting-edge marketing tactics.

3. Allocate 10% of your annual budget for experimentation. Stop chasing every new thing that comes down the pike. Your goal is to be on the leading edge, not the bleeding edge. Pick one or two new tactics and explore properly. And be sure to measure and evaluate the results.

4. Once you select a new tactic, invest in it properly. Give it a chance to work by doing it well with the right resources – or don’t do it at all. All too often we do something halfway, don’t get obvious results quickly, and then say it doesn’t work. Design a solid plan of how you will implement, nurture, and measure a new marketing tactic.

While you may not always know with absolute certainty which tactic will be more successful, there is one thing for certain. Trying to do too much at once will definitely be a disaster. Then you’ll be back right where you started, wondering whether you should buy that new candy everyone is talking about.