I participated in a panel presentation last night at Ann Arbor SPARK – the Marketing Roundtable, highly recommended – on developing a marketing communications plan. There was some discussion on the elements of a plan, but the real issue focused on having a plan that was aligned to your business objectives.
Years ago I worked with a career sales guy who taught me, “Plan your work, and then work your plan”. Perhaps some of the greatest advice I’ve ever received and one I see more companies fall down on in these trying economic times. Without a plan, you’ll never know what success looks like, or have the knowledge to adjust for changing environmental variables – and in most cases you’ll squander money like a drunken sailor.
One key is clear objectives with metrics tied to them. At PWB we decided we needed to increase our web traffic to get more folks to sign up for our e-newsletter series. So Keith and I spent some time with the search marketing folks at Pure Visibility. Learned a lot – key was that search success is all about focus and targeting. Pick the terrain you want to own, then work at taking it. We picked a key phrase we wanted to own, tuned up our site content, navigation, and structure to support that term. The results? We moved from being buried in Google to PAGE ONE. In about a week. All with organic search optimization. The benefit of focus. The ironic part is that most of the changes we made were things we already knew about. We just hadn’t taken the time and discipline to think them through for ourselves in a focused way.
My advice? Don’t panic. Think. Then do.