As I listen to the rain outside my window this morning, I’m excited. Why should I be excited about rain when it’s been such gorgeous weather lately? Because April showers bring May flowers…or in my case a May garden!
Every year, usually in January—because, yes, I am that impatient—I end up creating a plan for that summer’s garden. What will I want to eat all summer? What do I want to preserve for winter? I have space and sunlight limitations in my garden, so what would be the perfect mix to plant?
Hey…this is kinda sounding like a strategy, isn’t it?
Well, being the Type A personality I am, I enjoy making Excel spreadsheets for all fun things in my life. So, yes, creating a garden strategy excites me each year.
But if I didn’t actually act on said plan, I would have to rely on subpar veggies all summer. So I create action items. In February, I choose all my seeds. In March, I set up my indoor mini-greenhouse and start my seedlings. On good weather days in April, I bolster my garden boxes, build any new boxes that might be needed, and make sure the soil is weeded and ready. Come May, I’m ready to plant.
Okay, so this is more about my garden than you ever wanted to know. What’s the point, right?
The point is that without a strategy, my garden wouldn’t produce as I would like. My tomatoes might not have enough sun to grow, or my beans could be planted next to my onions, and neither would grow as well.
Many small businesses either think that a marketing strategy is a waste of time or that it costs too much, but they’re not considering the increase in their marketing effectiveness. Without a plan, they may be spending too much money on tactics that don’t work, or they could be focusing so broadly that they’re having less-than-desirable return on investment.
Of course, the flip side of planning out my garden is that without taking action on my strategy, I might not have any vegetables at all. My boxes might fall apart because the brackets were loose. Or my seedlings might not be ready in time for May planting, which would mean a late harvest.
Alternatively, when a business does have a marketing strategy, it can be easy to let the actual action items fall to the wayside in favor of doing billable work. This is an understandable challenge. Then again, without marketing of some sort, your billable work will eventually dry up. And if you’re reacting instead of planning and responding, your marketing is going to be much less effective.
Successful marketing is a two-part process. The first is to figure out how to market smartly. The second is to do it.