Have you had that hopeless feeling about your marketing plan lately? ?There is a good reason for that — you may not have a process for putting you marketing ideas and plans into actions that actually make your plans come to life.

Let’s say that your marketing objectives are really CONVERSATIONS that have a life cycle of their own. Once you know the process that these conversations take and what to do at each stage of the process – you will MOVE FORWARD.

State your commitment – what are you up to?

Think of your marketing goals and objectives in terms of a broader commitment of what your business is about. The companies that are most successful and beloved by their customers are up to something. Southwest Airlines is committed to giving everyone the opportunity to fly. FedEx is committed to getting packages there overnight. Every business is committed to something — what are you committed to? What is your business up to in the world? Write that down on a piece of paper RIGHT NOW!

Now you are in the right conversation — what is it going to take to bring your commitment to the marketplace to life? You already have the answer to this — it’s all those actions that you have on your to do list. Maybe it includes going to a trade show to launch a new product. Whatever is on your list is a conversation that you can take through this magical process and that will move it forward.

The three main ingredients to getting your marketing message out

  1. Time?- Think of time in terms of gestation or how long it’s been on your list or part of your conversation. Ideas and projects need time to germinate, grow and develop. The biggest mistake we make is giving up too soon or getting stuck on its being a certain way.
  2. Media?- Because thinking about things and talking about things are just words and invisible. You will need “media” something physical to bring those nebulous items into the physical world. Media can include sticky notes, to-do list items, scheduled meetings – anything at all that transforms the idea and empty conversation into reality.
  3. Membership?- Bring more people into the conversation. Just think about how often you keep ideas inside your head and expect other people to get it? Sharing your idea, your project, your objective of what you’re up to with other people opens up amazing opportunities for bring your marketing plan to life.
These three items are at the core of making your marketing plan successful. Look at your commitment and objective and start brainstorming ways to bring time, media and membership around that and see what happens.

Phase 1 – Transform thinking about it to talking about it

What is it?

The first phase of any conversation or idea is talking about it – we call it brainstorming, maybe it’s market research. You’re feeling your way around and imagining how it’s going to go and how it could be.

How you know you’re in phase 1

Whenever you listen to a presentation or see a new tool you are intuitively saying “yes” or “no” to it based on your commitment. For example; will this tool make it easier for me to do direct mail? Will this webinar help me learn something that will save us time and money? Will this help me get my message out? If it’s “yes” , then you note it, maybe you write it down, maybe you put it in your marketing plan. If it’s no – you simply let it go.

What to do next?

  • Get it out of your head. Write your idea down on a piece of paper and paste it up on the wall. Put it on a white board. Just get it out of your head and into the physical world.
  • Listen for and refine your real commitment. We are masters at saying one thing and doing something else. You may have said that your commitment was for helping your customers achieve something – but your time and energy is spent in cutting costs and building efficiency inside your business. In what ways will these efficiencies improve your customers’ world? Not only will you make more money, your customers will benefit in some way. That is the commitment.
  • Involve others. This is the ideal time to involve others in your conversations – start telling people, gathering input and turning that input into action.
Phase 2:? Remember what you’re working on


Create?specific actions. Instead of “Choose appropriate trade shows” write down – “Review trade show directory and select 5 trade shows” . When actions are too general and nebulous, they remain ideas and conversations. Your goal is to transform ideas into actions.