Are you a planner?
Do you like to have everything figured out and know what to expect in advance OR are you more of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type?
It’s funny. Based on what I do, you’d think I’m the PLANNER type. And, in some capacities I really am, but in other ways…I prefer not to plan, to be spontaneous, and to just go with the flow (compare me to my sister-in-law on a family vacation and I look like a total no plan slacker). In reality, I fall into BOTH categories and I think that’s why I’m able to see the REAL benefits that come with having a plan. (Well, that and my 20+ years of marketing experience.)
But why should we create a marketing plan? Is it really necessary? I say, yes!
Planning in general, and planning SPECIFICALLY in our business and with your marketing and communications activities helps you:
If you’re anything like me…doing things at the last minute can be stressful. Having a plan reduces that type of last-minute stress. Now, I do understand that need to “be up against a deadline” or that feeling that maybe you do your best work when you’re under pressure. That might be true occasionally, but I’m telling you…if that’s an EVERY DAY occurence…I would expect that high level of stress would be having a negative impact on your work, your health, and your happiness. Plan ahead so you can stay relaxed as you execute the tasks on your plan on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis! No need to be scurrying around at the last minute when you have a plan in hand.
A plan can also help ensure that you’re not all over the place with your marketing. A plan helps you stay focused and ensures that you’re actually working towards your goals. When you work on things at the last minute or without a plan, you risk what I like to call “Shiny Object Syndrome.” That’s when some exciting opportunity comes along that you didn’t plan for and you drop everything and go for it. This is not to say that you shouldn’t take advantage of opportunities that come your way, you just don’t want to do that sudden “responds to a shiny object thing” ALL THE TIME. Shiny Object Syndrome can be hard on your team and also prevent you from actually working towards your goals. Mapping out a plan in advance that works towards specific goals for your business is the way to approach marketing in a strategic way. And, when a shiny object comes along (which they will), having a plan helps you decide if you can add that shiny object to your To Do list and still stay on track to hit your goals. Having a plan makes your marketing efforts PROactive rather than REactive. (And back to point #1…it’s also a lot less stressful if you only say yes to the shiny objects that fit with your plans and goals!)
When your marketing activities are planned, you can be more intentional and thoughtful in your communications and in the marketing activities you choose to do. You can give your customers lead time, a heads up, and send a clear message to your customers about your business, service, or product. When you have a plan in place, you can focus on a specific Call To Action (CTA) and not confuse your customers with too many different messages. A CTA is when you tell potential customers WHAT you want them to do next and HOW you want them to interact with you. Usually your Call to Action is based on your current sales focus and the specific goals you’re trying to reach. Planning ahead helps you focus on ONE Call to Action for your customers at a time! It keeps you communiationg strategically as you move towards your goal. Planning ahead helps you streamline your communication and make sure you are adding value and building relationships, not just promoting something at the last minute that you forgot about. I can’t stress enough how important it is to NOT confuse your customers with too many options and too many different messages. If you can send a singular, clear message your potential customers will be more likely to understand you, trust you, and follow you.
Planning ahead for when you’re going to send emails, and when you’re going to send social posts and when you’re going to do personal outreach CUTS DOWN on the number of decisions you have to make each day. All you have to do is pull out your plan, see what’s there, and execute. With a plan in hand, you won’t have to spend—or waste—time each day thinking “Okay, what should I be working on now?”
Because of this, setting aside time to focus specifically on planning SAVES YOU TIME each day. And, if you’re like me, when you do something at the last minute, that last minute thing OFTEN takes a lot longer to accomplish than if it was something you planned for in advance and executed when the time was right.
Friends, I admit to you, I’m not perfect at making or sticking with my own plans, but we actually SHOULDN’T BE PERFECT when it comes to planning. Creativity is often spontaneous and plans often need to change due to things that are out of our control. And yet, taking the time to create a plan can keep you focused, strategic, and intentional each day. For this reason, I believe that planning is a super important activity. Having a plan reduces my stress, makemy heart feel lighter, and helps my shoulders relax—and it can do that for you too.
Keep this in mind. The best plans are like palm trees: dependable, strong, and also very flexible—able to withstand high winds, able to bend and change direction as needed. Having a plan AND flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants brings strategy and creativity together. Let’s take the time to build Palm Tree Plans and show ourself some grace when strong winds blow things around.
Join the Planning Conversation!
Tuesday, June 22nd • 5-6:30pm PST
This SPECIAL Marketing & Mocktails will include an interactive workshop to help YOU get started to create a marketing plan for the remainder of the year!
If you’ve got something big planned and need a little help figuring out how to tell the world (or your ideal customer) about it, I’m here for you!