From my experience working with small and medium sized companies (which remain the backbone of our economy), I have to say that the most common mistake made when it comes to marketing is not found in the message, or even in the media. Rather, it is in a lack of consistency in the frequency of delivery.
Don’t get me wrong…what you say and how you say it is important. But how often may be perhaps, at least in my opinion, the biggest downfall for would-be marketers. Far too many business professionals view marketing as a short-term sprint rather than a long-term marathon. They deploy a handful of marketing initiatives (often as a reactive measure to a reduction in sales) and when they don’t see the results they wanted in 30 to 90 days, they give it up. Or worse, they do see results, and suddenly they are too busy to continue with ongoing marketing efforts.
You can have a powerful message that conveys a compelling benefit to your prospect. But if you only put that message out sporadically, it will not likely get much traction. Plus, people respond on their timetable of need and sense of urgency—not yours. To hook that fish, you need to either remain top-of-mind through a consistent stream of touches (be it every day, week, month, etc.), or be lucky enough to hit your prospect at just the right time when their sense of need and/or urgency is at its greatest.
Common sense will tell you that it’s best to strive for the former. And to that end, this is where it pays off to think and act like a publisher. All it takes is one simple, elementary tool that no editorial operation can do without: the calendar.
Newspapers, magazines and every other effective editorial vehicle on the planet operate by an editorial calendar. They plan out issues months if not a year in advance or more. Each day, each week, each month, they follow it. Will they make changes? Sure. But a publisher is always thinking of the next issue…the next initiative…the next message. The cycle never ends until the operation closes its doors.
To successfully deploy marketing for your business and really make it pay off over the long run, you need to think like a publisher and start planning with your calendar.
Yes, sales and marketing goals are crucial, especially at the beginning. You won’t reach them without adhering to your calendar.
Yes, messaging, media channels, and meaningful calls to action are vital. They too, are a part of your calendar.
But if your business is focused on long-term brand-building, gaining a solid foothold in the marketplace, and being top-of-mind in your prospect’s head when he is ready to pull the trigger, the calendar is and will always be your starting point. It is what editors and publishers operate by, and so should you.
Every morning, the sun rises. Every evening, the sun sets. Use your editorial calendar to become equally reliable. If you use this framework to serve your prospects on a regular basis, it will not be too long before they will come to know you, like you, and trust you (and yes…buy from you).