Business development efforts for our own agency is often relegated to the backburner in lieu of pressing client requests or workload shifts due to agency role changes, until famine mode strikes, that is.
If you’re internal marketing plan is currently off the rails consider the follow with the objective of getting back on track:
Questions to ask:
- Are the tasks still actually getting done out of habit and just not checked off in the project management tool? (That’d be ideal!)
- Check for redundancies. Are any of the subtasks double or triple accounted for? Where should the singular task be accounted for instead?
- Did you originally over-plan a campaign that merely needs simplified and carried to the finish line?
- Were any campaigns or promotional plans changed in reality without the changes being reflected in the project management tool?
- What overdue tasks need followed up on, kept, or deleted?
- Are there any overdue tasks that would have had value had they been completed on time that no longer yield the same value?
- Would paper and pen or sticky notes on a white board be a better project management tool for internal marketing efforts than a digital version?
Ways to get back on track:
- On tasks that still need completed, update the due date to the present or a future date. Then, add a *NO EXCUSES* disclaimer in the task name as a tough reminder to yourself to get. it. done. period.
- For campaigns or tasks that timelines changed on, update the due dates for each subtask to the new timeline. If the new timeline is yet to be determined, go ahead and remove the over-due dates for now. I find it helpful to set a reminder subtask to follow up on the timeline to ensure it doesn’t fall through the cracks, but also doesn’t clutter up the rest of my active task list.
- Leave nothing in the past. In other words, anything past due gets re-evaluated and either an updated due date, deleted, or undated to follow up on later.
- For tasks dependent on information or requests from other people, create a task to follow-up and/or adjust the date.
- Reset your mindset. Know thyself, but also push thyself. If you know you’re likely to fall off the internal marketing and project management bandwagon again, challenge yourself to keep up with the tasks for 1.5 times longer than this last go-around. (And ask someone to hold you accountable.)
Golden Rules of Project Management Cleanup & Campaign Planning:
- Do not start completing tasks until all over-due tasks have been re-evaluated and new due dates accounted for. Otherwise, you risk being sucked into the black hole of to-dos that may have gotten you into your project management mess in the first place.
- Be reasonable with yourself. Agency leaders and business owners in general are notorious for expecting way to much of themselves. You’re only human and that nifty marketing campaign you saw the other guys do may have been completed by four times as many people with two times as many resources that you have. Redefine what is truly important to your business development and what items you can go without until a later time in your business’s life.
- Reset priorities. Moving forward, go into each day expecting to leave nothing uncompleted or re-assigned.
- Ensure each marketing activity has a measurable objective and goal to track success or failure against; these measures of success are critical when you are evaluating not only factors of success, but also priorities.
- Set a reasonable rhythm. Just like you advise your clients, you can’t and add bells and whistles on top. You have to prioritize certain marketing channels and content types that are reasonable.
- Remember, done is better than perfect. If you have the item 90% of the way there, and want to just finish it up real quick another day; STOP and ask yourself if you can launch it now and circle back when you have time. This will ensure you don’t leave a lot of marketing efforts almost done, but never actually providing value.
- Success is in the follow through. Like jugglers will tell you, the secret to be a good juggler is focusing on the throw and the follow through. As related to your business development efforts, focus on promoting and amplifying the campaign 5 times more than the amount of time you spent creating it. If it took a month to pull together, find various ways to promote the piece(s) for 5 months so it has a chance to be seen and leveraged by the intended audience.
Well, hop to it.
Building a successful marketing agency takes grit, a focus on your value, and sometimes a *loving* kick in the pants.
Needing an ally as you achieve your long-term goals?
I’d be happy to help.