September 29, 2009

Marketing Campaigns are Backwards

Do you ever get a marketing idea and want to get started on it right away?  I do all the time.  Ideas are always jumping into my head for promotions, joint ventures, and anything else I can dream up.  I'm one of these people who also likes to be able to just run with the idea, put it together and get it done NOW!  Unfortunately, marketing campaigns don't work that way, even though I do.

Over the last 4 years of coordinating marketing campaigns, the most valuable thing I've learned is to SLOW down and work backwards.  I know that just doesn't seem like it would work when your creative juices are flowing.  That's why I always suggest the first order of business is to start at the end do a brain dump.  What do I mean by "brain dump?"  What I mean is writing down all your ideas for the campaign as soon as you can, so your creativity can flow.  What do you want the campaign to look like?  What do you want your campaign to include?  Leave room to add more ideas as they come to you.  You can also talk to someone about it and have them take notes, or record yourself talking about it and have it transcribed.  Either way, get all your ideas on paper, so you have a big picture idea of what you are working on and you can allow your creativity to flow.

Now, plan backwards.

1)  Choose your ideal end date. What dbackwardsate do you want to have the event?  What date do you want to launch the product?  You get the idea.  Keep in mind that most large event type campaigns need a good 3 months to take hold and produce results.  Smaller product release type campaigns can be put together in a month, because you are continually marketing even after the release date.

2)  What's it going to take? Look at your brain dump notes.  What tasks and details did you write down?  Create a list of all those details and then fill in any holes you see.  Number your list in order of what needs to come first.  So, let's say you are doing an ebook launch.  You need the cover designed, you need the ebook written, you need it proofed and formatted, and you need a sales page…not to mention there are a lot of other pieces.  What needs to get done first?  Most likely, it's writing the ebook first, then the cover design, then while proofing and formatting is going on, the sales page needs to be created.

3)  And before that? Now, next to each of your task items on the list, add what needs to happen before those are done.  The person who is creating your sales page will need certain things from you.  When will they need them in order to have the final draft to you in time for your end date?  Plan for a few edits and revisions.  Make sure you know the turn around time so you can plan it out accordingly.  Create due dates for each task item on your list.

4)  What do you need? What do you need in order to make sure all of it comes together?  Do you need to move the end date, so you have more breathing room?  Do you need to take some extra time out to breathe before you start looking at what needs to be done?  Do you need help in managing the project, so you can focus elsewhere?  What do YOU need in order to stay sane, keep the flow going, and make sure you get the end product you want?

I find it very helpful to use project management software for planning out campaigns.  I have purchased a monthly subscription to Basecamp (an online project management program) for my clients and my team to use.  It allows us to set up to-do lists and milestones for each piece of a project.  This makes it easy to see all that needs to happen.  It also makes it easy for my Project Manager to communicate with our clients and keep them in the loop.

I've also been known to use mind maps for my brain dumps.  It gets everything out on paper in picture form and I can see all the little legs of what needs to happen.  I use the fr*ee personal version of http://www.mindmeister.com, for this.

Remember, having a marketing implementation plan like this can keep you and your team on track with a project.  It also allows you to think ahead and create space where you need it, so you aren't cramming to get everything done last minute.

Kristen Beireis, Marketing Implementation Expert

Kristen Beireis, Marketing Implementation Expert

Kristen Beireis is the Marketing Implementation Expert for Group Mastery.  She works with elite life-changers who are so buried in marketing they are leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.  Kristen and her team free coaches up to earn those hundreds of thousands of dollars without breaking a sweat so they can focus on helping others make positive changes.

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