Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Marketing Mishaps: Over-learning and Under-applying

Marketing Mishaps: Over-learning and Under-applying 

The best practitioners, in my opinion, are lifelong learners. They constantly add new tools to their toolbelts, so that they keep up with changes in technology, marketing strategy, and their clients' needs. There's an important distinction, however, between continuing ed that supports you in your business, industry, or work and serial education that keeps you from putting what you are learning into action.

Loral Langemeier put it best when she asked, "When will you ever use all those shelf-help books and programs you've bought?"

And these programs abound, do they not? Best e-mail marketing campaign strategies. Fool-proof list-building techniques. Best Facebook practices. Public speaking 101. Perhaps you've taken a class or purchased a product along these lines. Here's the question, though. How well are you implementing what you've learned? How many times have you reread your notes? How often have you listened to those CDs or MP3s? Where are these steps on your action plan?

Help - I'm overwhelmed. I have no idea where to begin!

First, slow down and take a deep breath! Then, take another deep breath. 

Next, take some time to do a needs assessment for your business. What kind of marketing are you using now? How is it working? Which parts are working? Where do you need to put more emphasis?

Now, evaluate your skills. How much do you know about the areas of marketing in your business that need some further emphasis? You've taken classes and bought programs - but how much do you really know? Can you fill the gaps through the materials at hand? Do you need to learn more or enlist help from a professional to create that blog, use e-mail effectively, or implement a social media program? And by learning more, I mean learn a specific technique, as opposed to taking in any further theory about why you should be using this method of marketing.

Next, you need to discern how you will know you've succeeded. This is a step many people skip - but it's crucial to the success of your campaign. First - how much is the campaign going to cost to implement, both in terms of dollars and that other very valuable currency: time? What kind of return on this investment do you need for it to pay for itself? This will be different for every business owner - but you must know the answer before proceeding. If you send 100 SendOut Cards, how many phone calls need to come in for the effort to be considered successful? How many clients must come on board out of those phone calls?

Once you've got down the method, the process, and the anticipated outcomes, all that's left is to implement. This, however, requires some strategy and planning. What are the steps involved in implementing? How long will each step take to complete? What's the timeline for completing the steps? Who will implement these steps - you, an assistant, a staff member, a friend, a hired professional? When is your launch date?

You've heard the axiom, "Knowledge is power." This is, if not a fallacy, at best an incomplete statement. More accurately, "Applied knowledge is power." What steps can you take today to begin applying all the knowledge you've been accruing?

If you'd like some help crafting a plan to implement your marketing strategy, I'm offering a complimentary 20-minute strategy session to the first two individuals who contact me via e-mail. Make sure to put "STRATEGY" in the subject line.

This is Day 35 in the 60-Day Content Challenge. I've been posting every day since I accepted the challenge on July 21st. See you tomorrow for the next post! Laura

Sign up today for Laura's next workshop, Want to Charge More? Start Writing! Or e-mail your writing, marketing, or design questions to Laura.

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