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Marketing Plan Essential #1: Vision

Vision - Marketing Plan Essential #1
/ˈvɪʒ(ə)n/ – (1) the faculty or state of being able to see (2) the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom

Note: This post is adapted from my soon-to-be-published ebook Create Your Own Marketing Trail Map. It fits in well with my January theme Ambition, so I thought I’d share it with you today. If you’d like to find a free copy of the complete ebook in your inbox later this week, all you need to do is sign up for my newsletter.

Your marketing plan needs a vision. Make it a bold one.

It’s hard to create a useful map (a.k.a. a marketing plan) without a destination. Your vision is just that: a destination that you can see clearly, and that guides and inspires your planning.

Your vision doesn’t have to be in HD or set in stone – maybe things look a little different when you arrive than you thought they would, or maybe you change course at some point – but it does have to be defined enough for you to actually envision it.

Two questions to clarify your vision.

To sharpen your focus on your vision, here is a question to explore:

1: When you have accomplished everything you could ever dream or dare, how will your everyday life, your community and the world beyond it be different?

I like this question because it demands a big answer – the type of answer that inspires you to stretch yourself and motivates you to do the work. You could call it ambitious.

Make chemotherapy obsolete! Change the definition of primary health care! Get vegetables on every plate in every school cafeteria, every day!

This kind of big, bold, outrageous vision is what will get you excited, compel you to reach out and make your plan reality, and allow you to grow with it. Small scale hopes get dull pretty quickly, and don’t inspire you for the long haul.

And the second question:

2: What does your ideal month look like?

I like that time frame because it’s realistic and manageable. “Your ideal day” seems a little shortsighted, and “your ideal year” can be overwhelming, with too many variables.
Thinking about your ideal month also puts the money issue on the table – at some point during the month you’ll probably have to pay for your housing, groceries, or a lovely weekend trip to the coast, so think about what you need to get there, too.

You can go public with your vision or keep it private. Either way, it should guide your choices and shine through in your everyday encounters with the outside world.

Share, and/or get support.

If you do decide to share it, I’d love to hear about it, too. You can send me a note, leave a comment, or post it on the Lightbox Facebook page for more bright, ambitious people in this community to see. Same if you’d like some help with developing a marketing plan that supports and reflects your ambitions.

{Love the mood of this photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis on Flickr.}

The purpose of a simple marketing plan.

trail map by krupp

Why plan?

Nope, I don’t mean this as a rhetorical question. Just think about the amount of paper, time, and brain power wasted on plans destined for drawers and folders, never to be seen again. To save your superb marketing plan from that unfortunate fate, get clear on the why first.

The purpose of planning is not to make a plan.

The purpose is to give you something that actually increases your chances of realizing your intention, and doing it well, with fewer setbacks and detours. It should compel and inspire you to take action every time you look at it, and make it easier to stay on track and follow through because the hard decisions have already been made.

Think of your marketing plan as your trail map – if you have one, you won’t have to bushwhack your way through the shrubbery, hoping you’ll get somewhere.

You’ll also notice the milestones along the way and know when it’s a good time to take a break and when you need to keep pushing.

The case for simplicity in marketing.

I have three main reasons for keeping your marketing plan simple:

One, chances are you’ll get going sooner. When you’re working on an elaborate 279-page plan, it’s tempting to go down the rabbit hole of endless fine-tuning. A solid, simple marketing plan will give you enough direction and inspiration to get going, and not overwhelm you with details and assumptions.

Two, it leaves room for flexibility and adjustments. If the conditions change, or if you discover new avenues you didn’t even have on your radar, it’s easier to adjust a lean, simple marketing plan than a very detailed one (also, it decreases your work-for-naught risk.)

Three, you’re more likely to stay focused. When you stick to the essentials, there are less details and options left to confuse and distract you. Better do two or three things consistently, intentionally, and with style, than 56 half-ass.

Up next: How to draft a simple marketing plan.

Stay tuned – I’m working on a little something for you to help you take the DIY route to marketing planning and design your own trail map. Leave me a note if you’d like me to send it your way when it’s hatched.

Travelling light.

Playa El Toro, Panama
I am writing this post after waking up to the sounds of birds, and starting my first day here with some coffee, papaya, huevos revueltos, and a walk on the beach. My work and inspiration space for the coming month will be a simple but beautiful and airy room, with views of the ocean by day and an incredible sky full of bright stars by night. Everything I brought with me fits onto two shelves and two coat hangers.

I am pretty excited by that forecaset – because of the escape from the cold and wet Portland winter, obviously, but also because of the simplicity of the whole endeavor.

So that’s the theme I am going to suggest for the first draft of your marketing plan for 2013: What would you carry over into the New Year if you had to make do with only a fraction of the brain space, budget, and time you have available now?

Here is what’s on my packing list so far:
– Meet new people, online and off.
– Tend to my website.
– Care for my relationships with allies.
– Listen.
– Acknowledge the support I receive from my community.

If you’d like some feedback on yours, feel free to send me a note – deities of the internet permitting, you’ll hear back from me within a day.