Marketing Planning…When and Who
The holidays are upon us, and pretty soon we’ll be watching the ball drop in Times Square. Do you know where your marketing will lead you in the New Year? Or have you even thought that far ahead?
If you have thought ahead and planned for 2006’s marketing activities, you are on the right track. If you haven’t yet, no need to panic. There is still time, and there are still ways to get things done without the usual pandemonium that accompanies most last minute endeavors.
For those of you who hold off meetings, and/or just do not have the time to think about it, consider these two key points:
No time will ever be the “right” time. Therefore, now is as good of a time as any.
You must pay attention to your marketing or you’ll be caught scrambling when it’s too late.
With that said, the very first step is to relax. The second step is to create a plan, and that’s where there is a choice. You can hire a marketing expert to either create the plan for you or assist you in developing the plan (ahem) or you can craft the plan yourself, but the bottom line is that you need a plan. Remember: failing to plan means planning to fail.
So the choices are simple. Either hire a pro, or do it yourself. Now the question is “how.”
To hire a professional, you want to make sure the one(s) you consider meets some common criteria, but I would like to point out some things you might not have considered. As with any position, you want to look for experience, knowledge, passion and dedication, but you also want to be sure to look for objectivity, ability and experience with research, interest in your company/field, and of course active knowledge and experience marketing similar industries. Do not let price be your only decision maker.
To do a marketing plan yourself, above all else, you will need to be able to look at yourself and your company without bias. It is entirely possible you will be capable of doing well on your own plan. However, the chances are pretty good that you aren’t a trained marketing strategist, designer, media buyer or copywriter, nor are market segmentation, targeting and positioning your strong suits. Or, you may lack the external perspective required to create compelling and creative marketing strategies that create loyal and profitable clients/customers.
To determine if this is the case, you should stack yourself up to the same criteria that you would for the marketing professional you would consider, and as with hiring someone, do not let money be your only decision maker. Whomever you choose to do your marketing plan, be it yourself, a professional, or even your next door neighbor, just remember that a marketing plan is an extremely important project. It can make the difference between success and failure. Above all else, you should only trust your financial well-being to someone who is 100% qualified to lead you to success.