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I am directionally challenged. For whatever reason, I often find getting from Point A to Point B difficult when I am traveling to a new destination. Thankfully, my navigation system now saves me a lot of time and frustration.
When it comes to marketing your business or nonprofit organization, do you have a similar tool that can guide you to achieve your goals? Or do you simply react and hope for the best? If your marketing has not yielded the results you want, start with a strong marketing plan. How well you market your business or organization will have a big impact on where you find yourself a year from now.
If you have never written a marketing plan or if it seems like a daunting task, think of it in three steps — think, act and evaluate. Focus on developing a practical plan that can be consistently executed. Write it in a way that makes sense to you. The important thing is to think about your business goals and how your marketing can support them, define the actions you must take to reach your goals and hold yourself accountable.
- Think big. Use your business goals to guide the development of your marketing goals. Be realistic. Choose three to five marketing goals that can make a big difference to your business.
- Think back. Experience is the best teacher so begin to develop your marketing plan by evaluating previous marketing approaches. What marketing strategies worked and which ones didn’t? What strategies deserve additional effort and funding?
- Quantify objectives. Once you have established your goals, develop realistic objectives that you can quantify and evaluate. For example, if your goal is to increase your prospect base, one objective might be to increase your newsletter database by 20 percent by the end of the year. Be realistic. Challenge yourself but at the same time, don’t make your objectives unattainable.
- Develop action steps. Once you understand your goals and what needs to be done, go one step further and determine the actual tasks you need to accomplish to support your objectives. For example, if your objective is to increase your newsletter database, a task might be to regularly share links to your newsletter on social media sites.
- Develop a timeline. Develop a realistic timeline with enough detail so that you know when tasks need to be accomplished. Assign responsibility to keep everyone accountable.
- Review your progress. Periodically, review your progress and make changes as needed. Hold yourself accountable but at the same time be flexible enough that your marketing plan can be adapted to changing conditions.