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 2017, 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 with diet and exercise, consistency makes all the difference in marketing and public relations. A well-executed strategic plan of action builds credibility, image and brand, and keeps you relevant.
It takes small steps every day. Sound familiar?
Large organizations with dedicated marketing teams have an advantage: They have people whose 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 – generating revenues, managing staff, getting vendors paid or managing logistics – all take precedence over marketing and public relations, right?
Sorry, but 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 attention will carry them through. But it won’t. They have to work to keep the 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.
Here’s to a successful 2017!
P.S. If you need help with your PR campaign, let us know. We’ve been arranging interviews for our clients on radio and TV, and obtaining editorial coverage in newspapers and magazines for more than 26 years. We also offer a social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215. We’d love to hear from you.