A Time for Marketing
By Maureen Kanwischer
Momentum Business Consulting
The Byrdís 1960s hit, Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season) proclaims there is a season for everything including a time to sew and a time to reap. And, if a sixties folk group isnít enough motivation, the Bible originated the concept.
This is the time of year to sew your marketing plan so you can reap the benefits!
A marketing plan is a roadmap for your business. It does not have to be complicated. Nor should it be. The point is to have a written plan that you can follow and measure throughout the year. It should be simple enough that it is actually useable.
Below is a monthly guide to writing a marketing plan aimed to commence in January. Just a few hours per month will allow you the time to think about your plan, analyze it, write it and execute it.
I think of October as the incubation month. October is the time for analyzing your marketing efforts from the current year and determine what produced a return on investment (ROI). Sometimes, you might still be waiting for the ROI, but your gut tells you its working. Hopefully, you have a very clear metric that shows ROI or lack of ROI. Itís a no-brainer here: if you earned ROI on a marketing project, you should continue it. If not, then move on to other marketing activities that will produce a positive ROI.
Before sitting down at your keyboard with an intention to knock out a marketing plan, you should take some time to THINK about it. Keep a note pad or sheet of paper with you so you can jot down ideas or items you want to investigate. Incubate these ideas. Start with a single overall goal for your company. Then think about the tasks that will need to occur to reach that goal. Look into details of what these tasks would cost. Start gathering the information you need to create or update your plan. If you make a concerted effort to think about your plan, you will find it easier to write.
Begin to write your plan. Create a simple table with column headings such as: Goal, Tasks to Achieve Goal, Completion Date, Budget and Responsibility. Complete a row for each initiative you plan. Spell out what needs to occur to consider the task ďdoneĒ. Hold off on assigning a start date and an anticipated completion date. Estimate what is will cost in terms of dollars and/or time. Call around to get estimates on hard costs to avoid sticker shock when it comes to executing. Include the name of who is responsible for completing the task. This last part is especially important if tasks are dependent on others to complete before someone else can move on their task. Make a point of including what you expect to achieve from each goal and keep track of the results throughout the year.
Manage your list so it covers no more than 10 goals. Remember, you are not married to this plan. You can change it when your business environment changes or a new idea or opportunity comes your way. But donít change it on a whim. Be intentional with your marketing. Every task should feed up to a goal and the individual goals should be aimed at your primary goal. Two or three pages should be adequate to list 10 goals and associated tasks.
When you finish this, guess what? You just wrote a marketing plan.
Now that you have a written plan, the month of December can be used to refine your plan and commit to dates for initiating and completing tasks. Put the tasks in order of the earliest start date.
Marketing is a constant effort. Do not have all your completion dates be 12/31! Be realistic and estimate your start and end dates throughout the year. Take into account your businessís seasonality and business cycles Ė if you have marketing that coincides with holidays, be sure to give your organization enough time to plan and execute along with the calendar.
Start contacting vendors and other organizations that you need to include as part of the execution of your plan. Finalize your budget and make sure everyone on your team in aligned with your plans.
Your marketing plan has been sewn. Now execute and reap the benefits.
Feel free to publish this article to your own site as long as you give credit: Maureen Kanwischer of Momemtum Business Consulting and link to my website: www.momentumbc.com. Thank you.