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Marketing Planning - Preparation and Accountability

By Kevin P. Dervin
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005

We all know the saying, “Failing to plan (prepare) is planning (preparing) to fail.” I truly believe in this statement and I hope you do as well. Building your service business, including marketing it must be planned and does take work.

I don’t happen to believe that there really are magic bullets or black magic boxes. My advice – quit looking. This stuff does take work, but you can certainly do it.

If you’re like most people I meet, then planning is something you know is important but doesn’t always happen. We are generally ‘doers’. We need to feel like we’re “doing” something to be productive – whether it’s going to networking events, sending out mailers, or making calls to try and set up meetings. And all that planning sure doesn’t feel like we’re “doing” anything. It’s time consuming when there is plenty of day-to-day work to be done. And truthfully, not everyone knows the best way to go about it.

But being unprepared in your business and life creates stress, problems, headaches, and sleepless nights. When you’re unplanned, life can be a real pain. You lose clients, create unhappy ones, and find it hard to attract new ones.

You end up “doing” a lot of things. And that makes you feel a little better because it’s not for a lack of trying. But the results are often less than what you hope for, and that can be pretty draining. To make matters worse, the longer this goes on, the less you feel you can afford to take any time to slow down and plan. If you don’t get some business in the door soon, all the planning won’t matter for squat.

Don’t let your business or your efforts become reactive to current conditions. If you are failing to plan, then you are planning to fail. I’ve seen it all too often, where even good intentions fall victim to poor execution. Because we’re doers, it’s sometimes easy to short circuit or skip the planning all together.

You start drifting whichever direction the wind’s blowing because “that last idea didn’t work.” It seems rare to admit that it might be the lack of planning and preparation that caused the marketing campaign to fail.

But there is hope! Looking for a place to start? Spend some time working on the most basic, yet valuable elements of your marketing such as clarifying your niche, defining your most ideal clients and prospects, articulating your strategic differentiation, creating an attention getting message, success stories, etc. Don’t be afraid to start thinking differently and then taking actions based on that new thinking.

Book a regularly scheduled appointment in your calendar for YOURSELF or with a trusted resource. Don’t let anyone infringe upon this time, not even your best client, except under the most extreme of circumstances. When someone wants to book an appointment with you that overlaps this time, tell them you’ve already got a very important client appointment booked and see where their flexibility is. They don’t need to know that this very important client is you.

Hold yourself accountable for making this appointment on time, every time, and making the most productive use of the appointment. Your marketing may not be in need of a major overhaul, but you should always be striving for continuous incremental improvement.

You owe it to yourself and your ideal clients to take time for regular planning and preparation. You’ll come to look forward to this time as you begin to build greater business success and increased satisfaction from your work! Your clients will take note of the effort and appreciate the difference for themselves.

(c) - Kevin Dervin, KPD Marketing

About the Author:
Kevin Dervin is the owner of KPD Marketing and creator of the ABCD Growth System. If you find this article useful, you’d probably enjoy Kevin’s FREE monthly eZine called ABCD Grow. To subscribe, just go to ( and follow one of the links to the FREE Stuff page!


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