Why Your Marketing Plan is like A New Year’s Resolution

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Article highlights:

  • As with diet and exercise, consistency makes all the difference in marketing and public relations.
  • Four realistic tips for daily implementation of marketing plans.
  • Discipline and willpower are keys to weight loss and winning marketing plans.

If you sat down at your desk the first workday of the New Year, and vowed to do something bigger and better to market yourself or your business in 2012, you certainly were in good company. There’s nothing like the fresh start of a New Year for motivating us to tackle what seemed to be an overwhelming task last year. But, unfortunately, the odds may be stacked against your well-intentioned plan.

The failure rate for strategic business plans is right on par with that for New Year’s resolutions, which is a discouraging 88 percent.That doesn’t mean your marketing plan, or my diet for that matter, is doomed. It simply means we both need to be more committed and disciplined.

As withdiet and exercise, consistency makes all the difference in marketing and public relations.  These strategic actions build credibility, image and brand, which are critical to your success. If you put your marketing plan in a drawer and don’t take time every day to use it by reaching out to your readers, customersor followers, it won’t reach its potential.

It takes small steps every day. Sound familiar?

Large organizations with dedicated marketing teams have an advantage: They have peoplewhose only job is to make sure their name is out there in a favorable light. They are just like those movie stars with personal trainers and private chefs – they don’t have to drag themselves to the gym each day because the gym comes to them.  They don’t have to come up with delicious low-cal recipes; their chef does it for them. The rest of us have to do it all ourselves.

If you’re running a business, big or small, the daily fires that need to be put out – increasing revenues, getting vendors paid or managing logistics– all take precedence over marketing and public relations. That telephone call to the reporter can wait till tomorrow, right? You meant to get on Facebook and reach out to your fans there, but you can do that in the morning. You opened a Twitter account and sent a tweet last week; people surely will start following you soon.

Sorry, that’s just not enough if you truly want to be successful in building a name and a brand for yourself. If you believe that marketing is the foundation of every successful business, as I do, then it can’t be set aside for another day. Little Orphan Annie was wrong: There isn’t always tomorrow.

If you’ve taken the time to set your goals and budget, and even draft a marketing plan, then daily implementation is a must. Here are a few ways to accomplish that:

  • Assign responsibility: Who is going to manage your daily conversation with the public? If it’s you, accept that it’s your job and set aside time each day (even if it’s only a half-hour in the morning or time late at night) to reach out to your key constituency through one of the many platforms available to tell your story.
  • Set measurable goals: There are great analytic tools to track traffic to your website and interaction through social media. Use them and check them constantly. Like that bathroom scale, they’ll keep you honest on how well you are sticking to your plan.
  • Admit that you can’t do it alone: If you look at your plan and honestly say to yourself, “There’s no way I can do this!” then find someone who can. A good marketing and public relations professional will work with your budget and the return on investment will be a good one.
  • Keep your plan in front of you: If you put it in a desk drawer or filed it away on your computer, it will be forgotten.

Some businesses launch with great fanfare and hope that the resulting media attention will carry them through. But it won’t. They have to work to keep the media spotlight on them, in order to stay in the public eye.  If they step off the playing field for even a short period, some other business or expert will be sure to replace them.

Marketing is building and maintaining an emotional relationship with your customers and your community. That takes place over time and with consistency, so they get to know who you are, the special qualities you possess and why you are important to their lives.

Staying out in front of your audience takes discipline and some willpower. But just like that daily trip to the gym and a healthy eating plan, if you keep at it, by the end of the year you’ll have a lot to show for your effort. And remember, whether it’s an exercise regime or a marketing plan, you may realize you just can’t do it all on your own. Then it’s time to call in a professional. They’re not just for movie stars.

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