planningIn the last few minutes of my marketing seminars, I can usually count on someone who's been scribbling notes the whole time to raise a hand. "These are great ideas, but how do I make time to implement them?"



The details will differ depending on the business you're in, but the general answer involves creating a marketing calendar.

Step 1.

action_plan_timetableDesignate a time of year when business usually slows down as the time when you'll make your marketing plans. For me December and August tend to be slow, but your slack time might occur in January or June. Or, take a pad of paper with you for this purpose when you're embarking on a 14-hour plane ride.

Step 2.

Brainstorm a list of marketing tasks that you want to get around to, hope to do or absolutely have to do. For instance: create or update a Web site; contact CEOs of companies that are expanding abroad; revise your product catalog; get a new logo designed; contact lost customers; write and distribute a press release.

Step 3.

Flag the tasks that should be completed at a certain time of year. For each of these, name the other tasks that must be performed leading up to it and, working backwards, line up the preliminary tasks. For example, if you hope to run a Mother's Day promotion for your personal organizing business, the preparatory tasks might include sending postcards to your mailing list and before that, designing and printing the postcards. You should get your postcards in the mail no later than three weeks before Mother's Day and get the design to the printer at least two weeks before that. Attach dates to all your tasks.

Step 4.

For non-seasonal marketing tasks, assign priorities. Which are most urgent, and which can wait until your next period of downtime? Break any tasks that seem overwhelming into several smaller tasks. Choose at least one task to accomplish this week, another next week and another next month, and so on.

Step 5.

Think about marketing tasks on your list that need to be repeated periodically, such as sending mailings, writing articles or updating your Web site, and incorporate those responsibilities into the plan. Adjust the schedule so that it feels realistic.

Step 6.

Transfer all the tasks that now have dates into whatever calendar system you already use, and voila - you now have a marketing calendar. Take these obligations as seriously as you would pending orders or meetings requested by potential clients, since these are the actions that will keep your business in good health and growing.

When you've performed this process thoughtfully, you've set up a marketing system that helps you avoid the feast-or-famine syndrome, where you wait to market until business slows down and you can't do it with a clear mind then because you feel anxious. Your marketing calendar will turn marketing muddles into order and perhaps even enable you to ink another few days of vacation onto your schedule! Marketing Makeover" and 10 other books.

Article © Copyright 2002 Marcia Yudkin. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.

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