|Posted by Brian Jud on September 24, 2014 at 11:30 AM|
Creating your marketing strategy defines what you will do (as described in my recent blog “Marketing Strategy Rules”). The next step is to decide how you will do it, organizing your actions in a way to fulfill your strategies. That is the process of planning.
Do not think of the word plan as a noun – a weighty document valued by page count. Instead, think of it as a verb, a functional, dynamic series of actions that keep you moving ahead. It could simply be a checklist of actions you can implement to fulfill your strategies and reach your objectives.
Still, some publishers eschew planning for a variety of reasons. Here are the three questions I am most frequently asked about planning.
Why should I plan?
There are many benefits to planning, if you think of it as a process, regularly adjusting your checklist to exploit opportunities as they arise. Here are a few reasons to consider.
1. You maximize your efficiency and effectiveness as you implement your planned actions. Your checklist gives you an answer to the question, “What is the best use of my time right now?”
2. At the end of the day you can look back at all the tasks crossed off your “To-Do” list and experience a feeling of accomplishment. When tomorrow comes, each day will be gone forever, leaving in its place whatever you have traded for it.
3. As you implement your actions other ideas come to mind. This may help you complete a task in a way different from which you originally intended.
4. It makes budgeting more precise as you get a good feel for the cost of each action.
5. It helps you make the best use of your resources of time, money and attitude as you utilize each more effectively.
6. It forces you to consider the interaction among your prospects, products, place, pricing and promotion.
What form should a plan take?
What is the best form for your plan? It is that which makes it easy for you to use. It could simply be a brief description (reminder) of your four strategies with your action checklist following each. At the beginning of each month, make lists of things you will do during each of the forthcoming weeks. Then each week create an easy-to-use list of things to do.
Why plan if I don’t know what is going to happen in the future?
That is probably the best reason to create your action list. As you perform your tasks you come up with innovative ways to implement each, based on your evolving circumstances. You cannot accurately predict every nuance of change, but you can be prepared to better deal with whatever happens.
Do not be deterred by the fog of the future. As your plan for the near term, options become clearer. Your forecast of revenue and expenses for the upcoming year could be detailed monthly. Your plan for the next two-to-three years could list quarterly predictions. Then each year your current planning becomes easier as you fine-tune your existing action plans based upon your relative progress and business environment.
The marketing-planning process is similar to using a kaleidoscope. There are a finite number of pieces, but you can create an infinite number of combinations simply by rearranging them. Manipulate the data you have until you feel comfortable with a given plan and then take action. As you proceed, new information will be added to the mix and you will need to re-evaluate your direction and progress. But each turn will bring you closer to your ultimate, long-term objectives.
Discover strategic ways to plan for new opportunities at the APSS Book-Selling University sponsored by Bowker; Philadelphia, Oct 24-25 (http://tinyurl.com/kxucber)
Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS – www.bookapss.org– formerly SPAN). Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.premiumbookcompany.com twitter.com/bookmarketing
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