Six Marketing Seasons of 2010
Sow your marketing seeds now before tax season really besieges your practice.
January 19, 2010
Let’s take a bi-monthly approach. Two-month seasons help you to better focus your time and money. Six seasons: 1) January and February, 2) March and April, 3) May and June, 4) July and August, 5) September and October and 6) November and December. Take some time to feel the priority of each season.
It’s time for some origami: Grab a blank sheet of paper. Fold the piece of paper like a tri-fold brochure. Keeping it closed, fold the length in half. Open it up to reveal six boxes. Write the name of each season on top; leave ample space for your marketing notes below. I recommend holding the paper horizontally (landscape) and writing three seasons across.
Adding technical to the mix: Every marketing action is represented by six “channels.” These six channels can be spelled as a clever acronym, such as WATERS. This is one way you meet new clients: Word-of-mouth, Advertising, Telephone, E-mail/online, Regular mail and Seminars/Shows.
Every marketing channel uses different marketing materials or “collaterals.” The six categories of collaterals are also WATERS: Web sites, Audio/visual, Text/printed, Events/experiences, Reminders/tschotskes and Signage.
Together, these (6+6) channels and collaterals create 12 marketing opportunities. Depending on your practice (i.e., your client development goals), you should focus on a strategic combination of marketing channels and collaterals. Each season would have its own priority projects.
Unfortunately, writing out your marketing projects takes some thinking time. You must reflect on your income goals, and how you want to prioritize your time. The tools to capture your thoughts are in front of you.
It’s helpful to take another sheet of paper and fold it vertically in half. You can label the column on the right as “Channels.” Label the column on the left side as “Collaterals.” Space out the letters W, A, T, E, R, S down the length of each column. Now, you can be project-centric this year. In the next 12 months, what would you like to do in these 12 categories? Write out your notes.
With this year’s WATERS notes, you can outline the necessary projects in the six seasonal boxes: What do you want to achieve by the end of January and February or March and April? What do you have to do in each of the W.A.T.E.R.S.? The two sheets should correspond.
While planning takes time, this exercise will serve as a short-cut for week-to-week scheduling. You should refer to these two sheets weekly. Keeping them handy works even better.
Don’t worry about finishing it. In reality, there is no end to marketing. In fact, each season enables you to improve the next. You’ll be making course corrections along the way. Typing up these two sheets can save time in the future. Be sure to print it out and display it privately to remind you each week.
Next year, your six marketing seasons will follow similar patterns: Of course, March and April aren’t going to be very busy marketing months. Likewise, July and August can be slow. Moreover, the lower half shows how quickly the fall goes.
Time management hint: It’s more fun to plan out your Six Marketing Seasons alongside a friend. Of course, your partner is the perfect choice. A colleague may help you bounce around ideas; what about your spouse?
There are also marketing advisors out there? Guidance and accountability are always short-cuts to better results. Embrace the season while it lasts.
Vikram Rajan is a Practice Marketing Advisor™ for accountants and attorneys. Rajan helps CPA practices with their marketing action plans, within professional codes of ethics and compliance.
© 2010 Vikram Rajan