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The Pragmatist’s Guide to Small Business Marketing

Ep. 1: The Marketing Plan

Welcome to a new series of blog posts from LeftBrainRightBrain Marketing – The Pragmatist’s Guide to Small Business Marketing. In this series we’ll present a practical approach to marketing, branding and advertising your business, from a real world perspective. That is, as a small business owner, you’re often doing it all, and as marketing tools and channels evolve at light speed, you can become consumed by them at the cost of losing your vision for your business.

Practical. Pragmatic. Realistic.

That’s what this series is all about. What is it that you absolutely need to do? What is a “nice to have?” And what can you just forget about? We’ll start at the beginning, with the Marketing Plan.

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“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wise words from a wise man. The thing that Eisenhower understood is that when you hit the ground, everything is fluid. The “plan” rarely, if ever, goes according to plan. If you’re not flexible and willing to go off plan, you’ll be doomed. OK, well maybe not. But you’ll be severely hamstrung.

Particularly in this day and age, when technologies, marketing channels, and access to end users is in a state of constant flux, a business owner cannot handcuff themselves to a set plan.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the planning process is of no value. It’s very important to think long term and get your brain around strategies and necessary budget. But when it’s time to pull the trigger, just know that you need to be flexible and willing to change. What works when you’re thinking through the plan may not be viable in six months and it may require an investment of time and capital to change course. That’s OK.

Another cautionary note about “metrics,” their value and using them to your advantage. Numbers and data can be spun and massaged to the point that they can show you just about any picture you want to see. They can also cause paralysis – you can spend so much time wringing numbers out of what you’re doing and analyzing them that you get off the track of what you’re really trying to accomplish. There are dozens of “metrics” you can measure any business by. Identify the two or three most important to your ability to run the business on a day-to-day basis and leave the rest to your team, consultants, and accountants. This’ll give you a quick pulse on what’s happening and keep you moving forward.

It’s never been more important to be a nimble marketer. So don’t lose sleep over the fact that you’re not sticking to your marketing plan. It’s just the world we live in.

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