Now is the time to start contacting your customers and educating them about your cause. It is also a point in the marketing process where we see yet another key difference between successful and failed marketers: the ability to create, and follow, a plan. As discussed in Part I, Chapter 18, your plan doesn’t have to be fancy or complex, but it should include these parts:
• Your goals, delineated in great detail, and preferably quantified and deadlined.
• The steps you need to take to achieve your goals, also delineated in great detail, and quantified and deadlined if possible.
• The resources required to achieve each step. This could be money, your time, others’ time, information, equipment and materials such as office or art supplies.
• A statement of the risks, problems and obstacles you might encounter, and how you will overcome them.
Then, you start executing on the plan, always taking time, throughout the campaign, to stop and review what you have done, assess how effective you have been, and what changes you can make to the plan or your actions to be even more effective in the future.
Follow-Through is Key
Most of the things that can go wrong in a marketing campaign come down to this: not following through.
So, you talk to your customers and gain lots of information on what they want and doesn’t want, but fail to do your segmentation or frame your message based on that information.
Or, you don’t come up with a plan—or you come up with one, but don’t follow it.
Or, you follow it, but don’t take time out to periodically assess your level of success.
Or you do measure success, but don’t get around to changing the plan to improve its effectiveness . . .
There’s an old joke that 90 percent of success is just showing up. Well, 90 percent of marketing success is just following through.
Moving on to Sales . . .
Good work—we’re done with our discussion of marketing! Now let’s move on to sales. . . .
Let’s assume you’ve done your market segmentation, message framing and strategic planning, and are starting to follow through on that plan. As a result, you’re starting to see some lively interest among members of your audience. The remaining chapters of The Lifelong Activist show you how to “close” these sales and get your customers to sign on with enthusiasm and commitment to your cause.