The Blue Kite Blog

3 Simple Words That Will Help You Build Your 2012 Marketing Plan

By | December 07, 2011

You know the drill. Despite the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you know you need to think about what you need to do to be successful in 2012.

And, if you’re like most people, it’s difficult to think about next year’s marketing efforts during the busiest time of the year.

But, I have good news for you – building a marketing plan for next year doesn’t have to be a herculean effort. Much of your marketing planning can be developed by using three simple words.

Start. Stop. Continue.

Sounds too good to be true?

Let me explain.

A few years ago, I read a great management book that talked about how to conduct effective annual reviews for employees. It gave a great tip about how to provide constructive feedback to help the employee improve.

It focused on three simple words – Start. Stop. Continue.

The book recommended giving employees feedback about things they should start doing (such as ways they can grow or expand), things they should stop doing (such as activities or behavior that needed to change) and things they should continue doing (praise for good work and behavior).

However, I think this approach lends itself well to business and marketing planning as it gives you a real simple way to determine what activities are valuable for your business.

Let’s take a look at how this would work for your business by looking at each of these three powerful words.


What are some marketing activities that you haven’t tried yet? For instance, maybe this is the year you add a blog to your website. Or, maybe you should consider developing a referral program.

Find out where your prospects are and look at some things you can start doing to better reach them. This is where you can get really inventive. Dream a little and think about new and better ways you can reach your audience.


Look closely at your marketing activities from 2011. What fell flat?

Did that ad campaign give you the ROI you were hoping for? What about your social media efforts? If you didn’t get results with a certain activity, it might be time to pull back or retool your efforts.

Too often we continue activities because “we always have” or because “everyone else does it.” These are terrible reasons to continue any marketing effort.

Take the time to closely examine your efforts and you might be able to find ways to save yourself time and money if you’re willing to eliminate things that aren’t working for you.


Although change is good, don’t abandon things that are working well. There’s no sense in chasing new marketing tactics if you’ve got initiatives that are bringing you results.

One of the best ways to improve your results is to look at things that are working well for you and then further refine or amplify your efforts.

Time to get crackin’

To plan for next year, here’s what I want you to do. Write down all of your marketing activities from 2011. Everything is fair game.

Then, I want to you brainstorm new ideas that you haven’t tried yet. Don’t limit yourself – be creative!

Once you’ve done that, go back through your list and put each marketing activity into one of the three categories – Start, Stop and Continue.

After completing this exercises you can start to build a plan for the activities that you are going to start and continue in 2012.

To help you get started, I put together a quick little worksheet that you can use to build your stop, start and continue list. Now, you have no excuse for avoiding this important exercise. You can download it here or view it below.

Marketing Planning Worksheet from Laura Click


It’s your Turn

What are some things you are going to stop, start or continue in 2012? If you’re having trouble deciding, let me know in the comments and we’ll talk it through.

Image credit: Roy Blumenthal

Please note: The link to the book above is an affiliate link.