Does anyone really love a deadline? Yes it’s wonderful to get things done and off your ‘To-do’ list but being under pressure to get something finished is never fun – at least I don’t think so!. Yet most of us live by deadlines – which are almost always imposed by others! I wonder if this is why SME marketing planning so often becomes a ‘Cinderella‘ activity. It regularly gets left until last, the thing to do when you have some time – yet other deadlines keep creeping up and getting in the way! As a result, 2 common outcomes keep appearing:
- Constant Firefighting – The deadlines keep cropping up and marketing planning sort of never happens.
- Delegate Responsibility – Engage a marketing services company to do some ‘marketing’.
With #1, you never really move anywhere while #2 is too often action without a plan. Fine, your ‘marketing company’ can build a website, do some SEO/PPC, telemarketing, email… whatever. All these are great marketing communication activities but if you don’t have a clear understanding of your business marketing objectives, your proposition, your target market etc., it is pure luck if the activity happens to be in the right direction! When you find it isn’t delivering quite as you’d hoped, you ‘pull the plug’ and you are back where you started from. No Marketing and No Plan!
Marketing planning for a business is an evolutionary process, not an event. Processes take time and once the time is gone, you don’t get it back. Maybe you wished you’d set yourself a deadline! The beauty of setting your own deadlines is that you only have to deal with yourself if you miss it. Yet having the deadline puts focus on what you are trying to do. In your business, it really doesn’t matter whether your marketing planning is done today, or tomorrow. What does matter is that you give priority to planning your business marketing and that it gets done. Having a deadline maintains focus. It is amazing how, if you get used to making time available regularly for your planning – even if it is only an hour a week – it becomes a habit. If you miss a week: who cares!