There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think, “what’s next?” Whether it’s toting my kids around or completing a new client proposal, I understand (sometimes all too well) the pressures of keeping it together and keeping on track. But lately, there is one thing I can’t seem to keep on top of. Laundry.
It’s constant at our house—with six of us living under one roof (four of whom are more concerned with the fun colors finger paint leaves behind on shirts rather than what can take the stains out) there is always laundry. Which got me to thinking that the pile of laundry I keep staring at is a lot like my marketing plan.
Seriously, stay with me on this one.
Laundry is one of the few things that I can’t ignore. If I did, I’d get funny looks as I paraded around sans clothes since, at some point, everything would be dirty. It’s something we can all relate to—it feels great once it’s done, but you know that you’re never truly caught up.
Much like a marketing plan.
It’s a huge accomplishment to even have a marketing plan. In fact, a recent JCC Association survey of 71 JCC marketing directors found that roughly half were working without a formalized marketing plan. The same held true of 780 nonprofits nation-wide according to the 2011 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report: Only 51 percent had written marketing plans for 2011 with 34 percent working off notes and no formal plan. Small businesses and other organizations are not much different. In fact, I met with a client the other day interested in pushing out a particular piece of marketing, but when asked how it related to their overall plan, they didn’t have an answer—because they didn’t have a plan.
So step one is to create your plan (check out Marketing plans: Talking points for development, in our client tool kit). And if you have a plan? Great—but you’re not in the clear.
Like laundry (yes, back to that) your marketing plan is never finished. It should be evaluated constantly, it should move as you move. You should always be asking, “what’s next?” If your laundry starts to pile up, it stinks. If your marketing plan sits—if it doesn’t grow with your organization—it gets stale and sometimes, obsolete. Making a conscious effort to check-off parts of your marketing plan alleviates the pile-up and keeps things fresh.
In no way am I immune to the marketing plan pile-up. We’re all busy and I get that. But if each day (week, month, etc.) I ask myself “what’s next?” I can make it a priority to check-off small items within my own marketing plan. Because, like laundry, if I just keep up with one load at a time, I feel accomplished and a little less overwhelmed.
So today, I’m doing a load of towels and will complete one item from my marketing plan. What will you do?