Marketing – Now Is The Time

Smart Marketing Reminder

Truly successful marketing efforts that stand above-the-pack are not accidents.  Often they are a strange combination of creative thinking, mulling,  Harder You Workimagining, planning, luck, hard work and careful execution.

Sometimes everything comes off without a hitch.  Other times, not.

And often when one starts a marketing project, the sense is that there is just too much to ever meet the deadline.  But then, you do.

You’ve worked hard.  It feels good to know that you were able to accomplish your marketing goal, whatever it might be.

Now Is The Time To Start Planning Your Marketing

I don’t want to the harbinger of bad news.  Nor do I want to add more to an already full plate.  BUT…now is the time to engage those little gray cells and to begin planning your marketing efforts for next year and figure out how to make it better.

Let me share a little family story.

Every July 4th, my Welsh and very pragmatic mother-in-law, Francis, never failed to remind us that:

Pretty soon it would be Christmas.

She was right, of course, but it sounded strange to start thinking about Christmas in July.

My husband attributed his Mother’s 4th of July Christmas reminder to the fact that this was the time when she would begin planning for her famous, or infamous, fruit cake.  As the story goes, she used to make a lethal, alcohol soaked fruit cake that weighed about 15 pounds by the time Christmas rolled around.

While many would ignore traditional fruit cake, few relatives or neighbors would ignore Francis’.  Apparently, one sip – ahem – one bite of Francis’ 100+ proof fruit cake made for some rocking good Holidays.

Needless to say, Francis’ fruit cake was a big success.

But It Takes Time

I tell you this story because the hardest and most time consuming part of marketing, smart marketing, is the up-front part.

This is where you have to spend time reviewing what worked, what didn’t and why.

It takes time to identify where your business is now and how far you want to grow.

You need time to let your imagination roam and to mull over the plethora of options.

Ideas are all around us, but you probably want ideas that will help you leap frog this year’s results.

Leap frog ideas are hard to identify and typically involve some risk.  You’ll need time to weigh the pros and cons.

Once you’ve identify your leap frog ideas, you need to lay out a plan of action and execute:

  • the message, the creative
  • the best time to launch to grab your audience’s attention and usurp your competition
  • which combination of tools will you use
  • how will you measure progress
  • how to minimize risk with a Plan B
  • executing all of the pieces so it comes off without a hitch

It all takes time.

In this day of instantaneous downloads, sharing, engaging, tweeting and posting, its easy to forget the time required for true marketing success.

So begin now.  Don’t allow your ideas and goals for your business to get pushed aside because you didn’t have enough time to plan and implement them.

Follow in Francis’ footsteps and get started now.

You should share your business goals for 2013 in the comments section below.  Go ahead. I’d love to hear what you have in store for next year.

Or you could share your favorite fruit cake recipe.  The choice is yours.

 

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Sheila Hibbard

Sheila simplifies marketing and social media for small business owners. She offers straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results. She has four decades of experience in all phases of marketing including communications, research, strategy and social media. Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn |Twitter

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14 Comments

  1. Planning, planning, planning, reviewing. Then adjustments. Then planning, planning, reviewing. Then adjustments.

    The excitement of marketing! :D Wouldn’t have it any other way though. Great post that really hits home the importance of strategy and analysis.

    • I agree, Jonathan. I love the creative process of the research, figuring out how to capitalize on trends, patterns, the planning, plotting, noodling.

      Glad you enjoyed the post and many thanks for stopping by.

      Sheila

  2. It’s so easy to get panicked when you’re in July and thinking you’ve got half a year left, to hit September and then wig out because Halloween is breathing down your neck and you haven’t finished your eBook, that eLearning Course you were planning on, or half of anything you were planning on back in March. Durr..

    So, I’d say we all need a daily reminder, “Christmas is almost here, dummy. Get moving.” :-D

    • You are so right, Nick. Time flies by when you’re in the heat of it all and stuff happens that chips away at the remainder of the time available.

      And what we overlook is that we need time to make more intelligent decisions about our businesses. Occasionally, there are those moments of inspiration. More often than not, it takes time to plot a course as to what to do to make our business grow and how to make that happen.

  3. Chuckle, I find that many times the last quarter of the year delivers great lessons. You plan you, think, your wonder, then you tweak.

    AND most of all you get CLEAR your purpose or it is all for naught.

    I bet Francis was a fun woman.

    • Yes, Michele, Francis was a very fun woman. Full of Welsh wisdom and never took herself too seriously. I felt truly honored to have been loved by her.

      You are so right. The last quarter of the year…when you’re pressed for time and the brain has to compress all of the information you’ve gathered, inspiration grows.

  4. My plan is to evolve! To sift through what is working and what isn’t…what I love and what I don’t. The autumn is a great time to re-evaluate and set new goals, again! Change of season is usually a great time to change, too…not to mention a great time for a cleanse! Then and only then could I be ready for Francis’ fruit cake!

    • Nathalie, I’m told her fruit cakes were the talk of the block and I don’t doubt it.

      Good point you make about the ‘change of the seasons’ being a good time to make changes in one’s own business and I totally agree. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments.

    • Angie, thanks for your positive comments.

      You make a good point about making tweaks along the way. Remembering that whatever we plan, we have to be adaptable and not rigid. Otherwise, some great opportunities are missed.

      Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

  5. Great post Sheila – I totally agree, it’s never too early to plan! A lot of social media marketers advocate the ‘play it as it comes’ game due to the unpredictability of the industry, but I’m a whole-hearted supporter of plans and strategy.

    It’s great to highlight to your team the goals, and to layout the plan to achieve these for all to see.

    • Thanks, Will.

      Yes, there are those who support the notion of ‘rolling with the market’, but all that means is that you’re running without a rudder. With a plan, you’ve got direction. Things may come along that will strengthen all of your plans, making it easier to achieve your goals. Or the market may demonstrate that you have to change course. This is what marketing is all about.

      Many thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Sheila… I think your first paragraph says it all.. and great example of the fruit cake, because it does take time and planning.. and time to go back to see what worked and what didn’t.A good message in this post.

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