Nancy Myrland All Posts, Marketing Strategy Leave a Comment

Don't Fall Off Your Own Marketing Cliff

A Little History

We are all aware of the term “fiscal cliff” these days because of the tax and spend cuts and increases that have loomed large over Washington, DC, and the rest of the United States the past several months.

I won’t bore you by rehashing all of the details because you can find 717 million results if you Google the term…seriously…I’m not kidding. Now don’t go checking that number until you’re finished reading this!

Suffice to say that Congress had a portion of our fiscal lives in their hands by making decisions that would either avert or jump over the fiscal cliff on our behalf. The use of the word cliff implied danger if we crossed the line.

Events and decisions had to happen by specific dates or there could be problems. Keep that in mind as we’ll revisit it in a minute.

Was that a vague-enough explanation of the fiscal cliff for you? Good, because I don’t do politics on this blog other than when I wrote I Like The Noise of Democracy.

Now, back to our regularly-scheduled cliff

A moment ago, it struck me how similar this is to the planning process we all know we need to go through in our firms.

You regularly hear people like me, marketing and business strategists, hammer home the need to have marketing and business plans, which some call Action Plans to make them less intimidating to you.

Your reaction when I talk about the need to plan might include one or more of these thoughts:

  1. “Yes, we already do that!”
  2. “Doggonit, NO, I don’t create a plan, so leave me alone!”
  3. “Hmm…I’d kind of like to have a plan, but I’m not sure how to go about it.”
  4. “Yes, a plan is good business, but we can’t afford to create one.”
  5. “We’re too small. We don’t need a plan.”
  6. “Well, it’s too late to create a plan now. I’m going to wait until next year. We’ll do it right next year, I promise!”

If you relate to #1, congratulations! You need to let me know who you are so we can do a little work on #2’s attitude, okay?

If you resemble 3 through 6, let’s talk for a minute, shall we?

You are about ready to fall off the Marketing Cliff if you aren’t very careful.

What Is The Marketing Cliff?

In a Facebook discussion the other day, a colleague of  mine replied to one of my updates…

“Shouldn’t Marketing Plans have been written by November at the latest?”

My response to her was…

“Well, absolutely, but I think we all know that doesn’t always happen, if it happens at all.  I say it’s never too late when I can convince someone to develop a plan.”

Here’s where the marketing cliff comes in. If you haven’t written this year’s Marketing Plan yet, you are likely on the verge of thinking that…

  • You’ve missed the opportunity
  • It’s almost too late
  • You’re now too busy and distracted to sit down long enough to think about a plan
  • You’ll start early, and prepare next year’s plan starting in the 3rd quarter

It becomes easier in your mind to avoid the focus, strategy and investment of time needed to prepare yourself for the rest of the year by letting it slide now. The year has already started, so you don’t have to worry about making mistakes, looking silly, not knowing how to prepare a plan, the potential of failing if you don’t achieve what you commit to in the plan, and any of a number of other excuses you might be telling yourself.

Stop doing that to yourself. Don’t give yourself any more excuses to step off that cliff, which then gives you the excuse to go unprepared again this year. Your business is too important, and so is your time.

So what if you haven’t done it yet? Forget about that. Stop beating yourself up.

Get focused!

You want to talk about making a decision that will have an impact on your fiscal life?

This one’s in your hands this time.

Step away from the cliff.

Thanks to ZenPixel for the dramatic cliff photo.

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