Resolve to create a full-year marketing plan |

Resolve to create a full-year marketing plan

Kelly Coffey
Vail, CO, Colorado

This is the time of year when my relatives return a lot of the gifts I bought them. I don’t blame them. I always buy their presents at the last minute. The result: What could have been personal and meaningful presents turn out to be whatever fits.

It’s those few years when I planned ahead, making a list of people I needed to buy gifts for, I’ve found I had the time to think about exactly the right presents.

Too often our marketing decisions follow that last-minute shopping trend. We scramble around trying to jump on one opportunity after another, never taking full advantage of each opportunity, and never unifying all our efforts into one large program. Radio station having a sale? Jump on it. Someone called up for a sponsorship? Sure. A new special section in the paper? Let’s see if it works.

What would happen if you really thought about how to market your company for the year? You’d be able to shop around for the best deals. You could link one effort with another, creating synergies between each effort. You could have one unifying message in everything you do. And most importantly, you could link everything you do to your company’s goals.

With proper planning, every dollar you spend on marketing will work as hard as possible. Use these tips to make a marketing play you’ll actually use:

– List your goals. Put your business goals and marketing strategies side by side. This way the money you spend will always have a purpose. Focus on exactly what you want your marketing to accomplish. Define your target audience and think of all the different ways you can reach them.

– Create a calendar. Create a marketing-specific, month-by-month calendar. This lets you see everything you’re doing over the course of the year. It tells you when you need to start filling in the details. It lets you see opportunities sooner. Don’t catch yourself on July 4th wishing you sent out postcards promoting your 4th of July sale.

– Make everyone accountable. Use the plan to list all the steps needed to carry out each marketing effort. Attach a deadline to each step and delegate it to a specific employee. That way it’s in writing, and everyone ” including yourself ” is accountable for getting their part done.

– Don’t put it in a drawer. When you’re done creating the plan, keep the calendar available so you can reference it often. That way certain events won’t catch you off-guard. Review the goals once a month and make sure you’re still on track.

The act of planning will get your into the mindset of marketing.

You can’t get creative when the phone’s ringing, so devote sections of your day solely to this task. Without distractions, you’ll more easily think of creative new ways to reach your target market.

As we dive into 2008, take the time to build a solid marketing plan. Make the resolution to stay ahead of your marketing, instead of always playing catch-up.

Kelly Coffey is the founder of Harebrained Marketing, a firm that specializes in connecting local businesses with local customers. Reach him at or 926-0888. For more marketing tips, resources, and to sign up for his newsletter, visit

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