Having a Plan in Place

We all know things are easier to accomplish when you have a plan, whether its a trip across the world or a quick run to the grocery store. Last week, I challenged you to look back at this year and ask yourself what are you doing differently next year. Many times working backwards from your goals is the best way to ensure you meet them. Since you know what you want to do differently this year, what is your plan for execution? When is all of this going to happen anyway?

When we work on brand marketing calendars with our clients, we plot out each week of the year and break every marketing and business development task into categories: client generation, client maintainance, and internal. Then we mark each touch point under the week and corresponding category. So we know in the first week of October we are sending a newsletter to our clients and internal team. For larger companies, we may have a second category for the location or separate calendars for each location – it all depends on the construction company.

Why break things into those three categories: client generation, client maintenance, and internal? Simply; so we don’t miss something. Many companies get so focused on customer acquisition that they forget to take care of their current clients. We all know the old adage that it takes more work and costs more to attract a new client than to keep one. So don’t put your clients on autopilot and assume they will come back to you. We’ve made this mistake before and are challenging ourselves to improve our client experience at all levels in 2014.

What goes under each category? It does vary for each brand and some items may touch more than one category. In general,

  • Client Generation – advertising, brochures, trade shows, associations, sponsorships, direct mail, website, social media
  • Client Maintenance – newsletters, gifts, trades shows, associations, parties/events, social media
  • Internal – newsletter, intranet, gifts, parties/events, social media

Some of these items are elaborate with lots of moving parts and take time to plan like trade shows and others are simpler like social media and email newsletters. The key to the plan and calendar is to be prepared (it is the Eagle Scout in me). Many companies miss key opportunities at trade shows because they “sneak up on them”. For example, companies do not market before the show (a must in our eyes) and sometimes miss out on sponsor perks because they didn’t make a decision on whether to sponsor the welcome reception or the lanyards – there is a right answer for this one.