The Time is Now

This is the time of the year where annual goals, strategy sessions, and development of marketing and sales plans consume much of our time. This can be foundational to provide direction and an understanding of the work to be accomplished next year.

As I’ve been finalizing my 2018 Marketing Plan I’ve begun to realize – that plan doesn’t start January 1st. It starts now!

The work we do today will create tomorrow’s success!  

What I accomplish in the final 5 weeks of 2017, is certainly far more important than what I plan to do the first 5 weeks in 2018.

Don’t wait to work on those plans – start NOW!

 

 

-DJ

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Are You Productive?

AreYouProductiveI remember once when one of my direct reports told me “This has been one of my most productive weeks.” He told me about all the projects he’d worked on. He was doing a lot of good work.

I’ve always worked on teams full of talented people who work hard to be productive. Good teams focused on being productive, not just busy. But, the definition of productive often is misconstrued.

(Warning – football analogy)
A “productive” football may chalk up amazing stats – tons of rushing and passing yards, passes completed, yards per carry, 1st downs and more… and yet, all of those stats don’t mean a thing if they lose the game.

Great teams focus on results!

In football, there’s only one stat that matters – the final score. That’s it. Did you win or did you lose?

To win, everyone on the team needs to focus on how their role contributes to overall success. Their focus should always be helping the team win.

The first question to ask is:

“ARE WE WINNING OR ARE WE LOSING?

If you don’t know – that’s where you start:

  • Determine if you’re winning or losing
    • And by how much
  • Document what it will take to start willing –or- increase your lead
  • Develop strategies accordingly
  • Ensure everyone on the team understand how what they do contributes to overall success
  • Then go and do it!

Strategies, projects, marketing plans, and sales materials should all be driving results that contribute to the overall success of the team.

Do the work that drives results. Have the courage to turn down work or projects that don’t contribute to success.

Why focus on being productive, when you can focus on being GREAT!

A Marketing Department is Born

It Starts NOWMy lack of focus on writing has led to a lack of article this year. I’m hoping to turn that around and start writing more frequently.

Weekly? Hopefully. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Two months ago I transitioned from my role in product marketing to a new role taking over marketing for a sister company. Same parent company. Same building. Different business unit. Different floor.

A great opportunity!

Coming to work each morning is…

  • Exhilarating
  • A Rush!
  • Stressful
  • Nerve-wracking
  • A Roller Coaster
  • Exciting
  • Totally Awesome!

Our parent company is great to us giving a sense of stability, while as a business unit we are like a start-up. Every day new challenges come up. Each day is different than the one before.

So yeah, I‘m loving it.

The new marketing department consists of me…. and me. A department of one. I continue working with my old marketing group as they support our efforts, almost like an internal agency. They continue to be great to work with.

The focus here isn’t on projects and staying productive. It’s all about results! Building brand awareness to drive revenue. That’s it.

So I’ll be writing more, documenting the process of marketing and branding – from the ground up!

It starts now!  

5 Steps to Starting Your Marketing Plan

Started your 2017 Marketing Plan?

Did you even have a 2016 Marketing Plan? Did you follow it?

I’ve worked for start-up companies, mid-size businesses, and large companies with hundreds of employees. It is shocking how different each company approaches building a marketing plan. There’s always a lot of discussion around how and where to get started for developing a new plan.

Here are 5 steps to get started:

  1. Review what happened in 2016 (1 hr. 30 minutes)
    1. What worked?
    2. What didn’t work?
  2. Segment your 2016 Marketing Plan into two buckets (30 minutes)
    1. What should I keep? (do again)
    2. What needs to be scrapped?
  3. Determine “What else” (2 hrs.)
    1. What should be added for 2017?
  4. Let it sit for 48 hours
    1. Let it simmer – more ideas will come to mind
  5. Evaluate the new plan and answer the following questions: (1 hr.)
    1. If we accomplish this what will be the outcome or result?
    2. If we don’t accomplish this what will be the consequence?

Very simple, very basic – but it’s a structure that will give some direction. The goal is to come up with a general outline for your 2017 Marketing Plan.

This outline can be shared with other departments and the management team. Remember, you’re showing them the picture of the forest, don’t try to paint every tree yet at this point.

After you get initial buy-in, further develop the specific strategies, initiatives, and campaigns.

This may seem overly simplistic, but for many businesses getting started doesn’t need ot be more complicated than this.

The Sales and Marketing Gap

pablo-3Why is there a large gap, a seemingly unfillable chasm, between sales and marketing?

Does it stem from different goals (or the perception thereof)?

  • Marketing’s view on Sales’ objective: They just want to earn a commission, and could care less about anything else.
  • Sales’ view on Marketing’s objective: They just want to make things look good, and could care less if it drives sales.

Bridging the gap means having the same objectives – real and perceived.

It starts with larger corporate objectives that individual team goals align with.

Sales and Marketing must explicitly understand how their goals help the overall company, and how they support the goals of other teams.

Sounds simple, right?

Way too often, in companies large and small, this isn’t happening.

Now is the time to develop your 2017 goals.

Corporate strategies must first be developed by executive management. Then team goals can be created to support the larger strategy.

Throughout the year, transparency via regular reporting will give improved visibility into how all teams’ goals support one another – thus bridging the gap.

 

What are you reading?

20160916_150150-01Never stop learning. Advice heard over and over again. As part of my 30-Day “Do More” Challenge, I’ve placed a higher importance on developing a habit of daily learning through reading books. No, my goal of 15 minutes a day isn’t some amazing feat; It wasn’t meant to be. It was meant to get me back in the habit… every single day.

This got me thinking about business books I’ve read, and ones I want to read.

Here’s my list:

Currently reading:

Favorites from earlier in my career:

What’s next (to name a few):

If you are looking for a marketing book to get started I’d recommend The New Rules of Marketing and PR. If you want a general business book, with plenty of application for your personal life, Think Big, Act Bigger! – for sure.

 

Tell me about any books you’d recommend.

As a Business Leader You Only have One Job

number-one-1256037-640x480Recently I was asked what I most needed from my boss. Not referring to my current job or current boss, just a general career question.

After much consideration I came to the conclusion that I only need one thing from my boss:

Clear the Path

That’s it!

Clear the path of any obstacles, thereby enabling me to do the job I was hired to do.

As a boss, a manager and business leader that’s what is most important – clear the path so your team can most effectively do their job. If you can’t do that, nothing else matters.