We all know 2011 is coming to an end in a few days. We also know deep in our gut there are things we would’ve, could’ve, should’ve done better in 2011. So, the question is:
How will your marketing in 2012 be better than 2011?
The problem many of us have is getting and staying focused on a few significant online marketing initiatives. Instead, we get distracted by this new online tactic, this new marketing tool, our family life, and on and on until we completely lose sight of what we really wanted to accomplish. I know this is true for me and assume it holds true for many of you. There are just way too many online and offline distractions. Before we know it all of our best intentions for new products, plans for our newsletters, social media postings lie on the floor in a big heap. Nothing accomplished.
I’ve tried to encourage you to address your 2012 planning needs in previous posts, but I think this new approach really gets to the heart of planning and is something everyone of us can do. I just found it yesterday and, frankly, it is quick, easy, painless and probably far more effective than any planning effort I’ve seen large corporations use. So, I thought I’d share.
Gut Check Planning
My name for this approach is the Gut Check Planning. But I have to give credit to Pamela Slim, author of Escape Cubical Nation for some of this process. She apparently borrowed the first part of Gut Check from a friend of hers and then enhanced it with her own twist. I’m going to try to do the same based on my own experiences.
What attracted me to this approach is it takes all of the messy work out of the planning process and gets us to check inside. Since that is where our brilliance lies, why not use it to guide us?
Step 1 – Identify Your Marketing Focus
Take a clean sheet of paper. Create three columns. One column is labeled “Hell Yes”. Another is “Hell No”. The third is “Maybe“. Think about each online marketing initiative you would like to accomplish in 2012. As you think about it, ask yourself how the thought of accomplishing that project makes you feel inside…at a gut level. Is it a Hell Yes, Hell No or a Maybe?
Maybes are pretty easy because you’ll find your gut will get a little queasy. There may be some good Maybe ideas and they might be worthy of your effort down-the-line, but we want to focus on those initiatives that make the journey worth the effort and a Maybe won’t cut it.
Hell Nos should also be easy as you’ve probably already had some of those experiences during the year, so you know what they smell like.
A Hell Yes should make your gut spin with excitement. The mere thought of accomplishing a Hell Yes marketing project online should put a smile on your face. These are your 2012 online initiatives. The online initiatives that speak to your gut and that will make your heart sing when you’ve accomplished them at the end of 2012 calendar.
Now, that you know the what, you’ll need to figure out the how…what will be required to achieve success.
Step 2 – Identify Marketing Milestones
Pamela’s suggestion was to break the 2012 calendar into quarters. Using colored post-it-notes, figure out when you can tackle your Hell Yes initiatives. I’m not going to skip this step, but I know from personal and professional experience of being paid to deliver on big projects, the next step for me is to break my Hell Yes marketing initiatives into bite-sized pieces and milestones. Doing so will …
a) give me a good idea of what I need to take this project to completion be that outside resources, dedicated daily effort on my part, etc.,
b) identify the specific steps I need to take to create and maintain marketing momentum, and
c) keep the marketing project in perspective so I don’t become overwhelmed.
Once you know the steps required, your journey won’t be such a chore. You’ll know what is required and all of the steps are very doable. Trying to chew off the whole enchilada is what can induce that overwhelming feeling, but taking one step after another will make the process a lot more digestible.
Note: If you’re embarking on a online marketing project where you need to collect some additional knowledge, don’t forget to include ‘education’ in your 2012 calendar.
Go ahead and breakdown each of your Hell Yes marketing projects into bite-sized steps. If you’re not certain where to start, begin at the end…when you’ve reached success. What is the step just before success is achieved? What has to happen before that step? Continue the process until you reach the beginning. Once you have an outline of the steps involved t reach each milestone, put them on post-it-note. Feel free to color code or group in a way that makes sense to you.
Step 3 – Create Your Online Marketing Calendar
Review your 2012 calendar and what you already know will happen …seasonal dips, industry events, vacations, etc. You can break your 2012 calendar in quarters like Pamela suggests or make it as detailed as you like. My personal preference is to have milestones for every month, so I know exactly what I have to accomplish by the end of the month. This approach also gives me a psychological lift for the next milestone. Using a quarterly, monthly or weekly 2012 calendar, post your marketing post-it-notes in a logical sequence and that will work with what you already have scheduled.
That is it! Pretty simple, right?
We all know it is insanity to continue doing the same things while expecting different results. 2012 is the perfect opportunity to not only change your online marketing approach, but to accomplish some truly wonderful Hell Yes experiences for yourself.
Let me know in the comments section below if you think this approach will help you to achieve some Hell Yes marketing.
P.S. Merry Christmas!