Don’t look now, but we’ve got less than two working months before the end of the year. Crazy, isn’t it?
We’re quickly slipping into one of the busiest times of the year and yet it’s also time to be building your marketing plans for next year (if you haven’t already done so).
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.
Sounds too good to be true?
It’s not. I promise.
Several years ago, I read a great management book that talked about how to conduct effective annual reviews for employees. It offered a helpful framework about how to provide constructive feedback to employees.
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).
This approach also 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. Sometimes, simple marketing plans are best
because they are more likely to get implemented and acted upon than something lengthy and complex.
A Simple Marketing Plan Using Three Words
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 tactics that you want to try? Do you have marketing initiatives that have been sitting on your to-do list that you haven’t done yet?
Find out where your ideal customers hang out and think about
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 this past year. Which marketing tactics 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 marketing 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 marketing ROI is to look at tactics that are working well for you and then further refine or amplify your efforts. We call that inch innovation.
Far too often, businesses make big bets with their marketing when they could be looking for incremental improvements instead. Making small shifts might not be sexy, but over time, it can lead to big gains for your business.
How to Build Your Simple Marketing Plan
To build your simple marketing plan for next year, here’s what I want you to do. Write down all of your marketing activities from this year. 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.
It’s your Turn
What are some things you are going to stop, start or continue in next year? If you’re having trouble deciding, let me know in the comments and we’ll talk it through.
Please note: The link to the book above is an affiliate link.