We are just past the midpoint of the second quarter of 2010.
Are you on track?
Is your business showing the returns and growth that you want to see?
If not, consider changing your relationship with your marketing plan.
Work With A Written Marketing Plan
I’m assuming you have a marketing plan and that it is current. In other words that your marketing plan is in writing and that it was updated within the past 6 months to reflect current market conditions, opportunities and objectives.
If not, let’s start there. The most effective way to improve your marketing is to make a marketing plan and then follow it.
Why a marketing plan?
Your business needs sales for success and, ultimately, you need marketing to generate sales.
Unfortunately the business of doing business can take up so much time that marketing feels like an extra – an optional item to be squeezed in haphazardly when there is time.
A marketing plan completely reverses this dynamic.
A plan gives direction.
This makes your marketing organized and deliberate.
And ultimately more effective.
Track Your Marketing Efforts — and Results
What’s the best way to improve your marketing when you already have a current marketing plan? Track your execution and your results.
Your marketing plan, like your business plan, works hardest for you when it is a living document — a frequently referenced resource that provides direction, inspiration, motivation, strategy and options as needed.
This is probably not news to you.
It is probably also not news that there can be a gap between the ideal of a living marketing plan and the reality of doing business from day to day.
That is where tracking comes in.
Compare what you’ve been doing to what you said you would do in your marketing plan.
You can track your actions on whatever level you choose.
Look at whether you are taking the actions you planned to take at all. Maybe you’re doing something different altogether.
Or look at how much you are doing. Does your plan call for a strong effort in a particular area? Are you working to the level called for in the plan or falling short?
Tracking your results is a second option.
What return are you getting from the marketing you do?
Is it yielding the results you anticipated?
Perhaps some of your efforts have been more successful than others.
Gathering information on your results and comparing the data to your expectations is the first step towards uncovering and expanding what’s working – and abandoning what’s not.
The time period for which you gather data and track results is entirely up to you. Compare from month to month or on a quarterly basis or semi-annually whatever you choose. Any time period is reasonable if it gives you some quantity of data to work with.
Round out the process of tracking your results by adapting your efforts for the next period to reflect the information your tracking revealed.
If you didn’t do what you committed to do originally do you know what happened that stopped you from doing so? Did you choose a strategy or activity that was too far out of your comfort zone? Or did you just not make time for the marketing you know you need to do?
What change do you need to make so that cycle doesn’t repeat itself? You could choose a different strategy that completely omits the activity that you chose to neglect. Or perhaps you want to make that particular activity a higher priority on your calendar. Modify your plan as appropriate to reflect your preferences as revealed by your tracking and analysis.
Will this generate an improvement in your marketing outcomes?
The answer is yes.
By planning, tracking and analyzing, repeatedly, you remove your marketing from the realm of possibility and make it a tangible reality. This creates results.
You also regularly refine your actions so that you do more of what is working and plan on less of what’s not.
This brings more results.
But don’t take my word for it.
Give it a try and see.
And, as always, let me know how it goes.
Anne Clarke is a personal and executive coach and principal of ABClarke Coaching. She helps individuals, professionals and entrepreneurs achieve success – however they define it. Learn more about how Anne can help you take the next step by visiting her on the web at www.setting-and-achieving-goals.com or contact her at [email protected].