The books are closed on 2009, and the various account teams at RH Strategic have been busy working with clients on their 2010 PR and marketing plans.  Here are some tactics we are recommending to clients and anyone else who wants to compete more aggressively for business in the healthcare, government, and technology markets this year.

This checklist is not a carbon copy of last year’s recommendations.  That is because the landscape has been altered by current events (recession, stimulus spending) and the new ways prospects are gathering information (Twitter).

With that, here is the short list:

Move your best customers to the front.  In 2010, buyers will be cautious and looking for evidence that your solution is low risk – particularly in the government and healthcare markets but anywhere the recession has had a deep impact. Document your customers’ best successes and market them through online case studies, speaker placements, press coverage, and awards. Sometimes a single case study becomes industry lore that generates returns for years!

Catch up with Twitter.  If you are still a cynic, it’s really time to take another look.  Chances are good to excellent that some of your prospects are being heavily influenced by just a few people on Twitter.  You should be one of them – however avoid the bland corporate tweets that read like press releases. Focus on issues and ideas.  If you’re already tweeting, focus on tagging to build followers.  Healthcare is surprisingly Twitter-friendly.

Update your web site with an inexpensive video or two.  The days of the $50,000, 15-minute corporate video are long, long gone.  The cost of web-quality video capture and editing has come way down.  Like down to a few thousand bucks.  And it turns out web visitors are much more likely to watch a 30-second video than they are to read web copy for 30 seconds.  Get a product developer on camera, a customer service rep, or your best customer.

Tie your messaging into what’s happening in D.C. Let’s face it: D.C. is the private sector’s new partner in capitalism.  Buyers are looking for clues that you are in tune with directives coming from the top.  Creating jobs, fostering transparency, keeping Americans safe, improving patient safety – the list goes on.  Work it into your collateral, web site, and talking points.

Spruce up your proposals.  It will be important to show that you not only survived 2009, but you are leaping ahead in 2010.  A fresh, professional look and updated messaging communicates confidence and permanence.

Keep your web site current.  A regular drumbeat of press releases announcing customer wins, events you will be attending, and blog posts all show your company is current, relevant, and has momentum.  No one wants to call on a company whose last press release was April of 2008.  Regular content updates also do wonders for your search engine rankings.

And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t note that RH Strategic is happy to help with these or any of your communications needs in 2010.  All you need to do is drop me an e-mail at john (at) rhstrategic (dot) com, reference this blog post, and leave me an e-mail or phone number.  In most situations we would have a conversation about your needs and review some initial ideas from our team.  Then we will quickly craft a proposal that includes pricing for you to consider.  It’s pretty simple!

All the best for 2010.