So often, clients call me when they’ve made a rapid-fire decision and find themselves in a vulnerable marketing position. They were so on fire for marketing, and now they’re feeling burnt. What could they have done differently? When you’re feeling like you’re ready to ignite, take a minute to stop, drop, and roll into a well-positioned and prepared marketing effort, rather than creating an inferno with your enthusiasm. Here are some safety tips:
1) Set a goal. Why do you want launch into a particular endeavor? What do you want to accomplish? Assessing what you want as an end result will help you determine the best way to get there.
2) Talk to the experts. Spend time discussing your options with the pros in that particular subject area, both consultants and providers as each will provide intelligence on the subject. They will help you understand the tactics, potential cons, methods, and best practices you are considering. An expert’s point of view will help you shape the needs for your business. An outsider with a fresh perspective may offer suggestions and direction that you may not have been considering – which could help make the effort more successful, save you time, or stretch your investment. Be mindful some may be motivated to sell you on their idea, so make sure you’re informed on all of your options.
3) Ask your peers. See what your trusted confidants may have discovered in their own experiences with the type of marketing project you’re considering. Remember however they may have had different strategies and goals. Lessons your peers have learned can help frame your expectations, speed you along on the learning curve, and help heighten your awareness of potential pitfalls.
4) Leave your pen (and checkbook) at home. Do not sign extensive contracts or commit resources too early. Once you’ve signed the dotted line, execution typically comes quickly thereafter – and you may not be ready for launch. In the rush to hit deadlines, very important planning and creative development may be curtailed, putting you in a reactive position. Set the strategy first, and then make a commitment.
5) Don’t forget about the things you wish you could ignore. Compliance, regulations, and policies are a lot less exciting than promoting your business, but disregarding them could break your business – literally. Don’t jeopardize your company through ignorance, ill planning, or poor risk-management strategies. Talk to your attorney, industry experts, regulators, and governing agencies to cover the necessary bases that may apply to your firm. After you’ve done that, and documented the appropriate protocols, you’ll be able to move forward with confidence.
6) Focus on the long term. Marketing is a marathon; it needs to be constant and steady. Quick takeoffs are exciting, but often result in less-than-optimal results. Position yourself for the future by making well-thought-out, strategic choices today. Having a clear vision and looking ahead will prevent you from burning through precious resources too quickly. Slow and steady wins the race.
When you’ve made the decision to launch full-force into promoting yourself, your business, or your firm, proceed with caution! Whether it is advertising, social media, or another hot pursuit, when the notion moves you to jump in to a particular effort, take a minute to pause and think things through. The last thing you want to do is see a project with potential go up in smoke.