We're half way through 2011. Hard to believe, I know. I love this time of year for so many different reasons: the Red Sox, the warmer weather, homemade ice cream stands. In a way, we're almost forced to slow down, and by doing so, reflect on the previous six months. That's why this is the perfect time to review your marketing plan review your marketing plan and make adjustments in time for the end of Q3 and for all of Q4.
Remember, a marketing plan isn't a straight jacket.
So if you've been doing something that hasn't been working for the last six months, or if you've been doing something that has been working, consider pruning the Not Working Stuff from the rest of the year and adding in more of the Working Stuff.
Regarding the Not Working Stuff. Just because something hasn't been working doesn't mean it won't ever work. So when you're considering the Not Working Stuff, ask yourself if it isn't working because something about the process is broken (and, thus, fixable) or if it truly isn't the right fit for your business right now.
Example: Maybe you started out the year gung-ho on Twitter, tweeting multiple times an hour, following people like crazy, and taking part in conversations. Except for the last three months, there hasn't been one peep or tweet out of your account. Maybe the intern you had doing it left for spring break, never to return. Or maybe the novelty wore off and you realized that Twitter wasn't as much fun after a few months. Or maybe, for whatever reason, you found that more of your customers were into Facebook rather than Twitter, so you started hanging out there.
Do you see what's broken vs. what isn't right for your business? The first two scenarios show a breakdown in the process. The last shows that Twitter might not be the right fit for your business, at least right now (that could change). What you need to decide is this: do you have the bandwidth to fix the breakdown and really give Twitter "a go" for the next six months (at which point, you'll reevaluate again)? If the answer is yes, take this downtime to create a strategy and weave it into your marketing plan. If the answer is no, remove it from your plan and reallocate that time to something else. This doesn't mean you're turning your back on Twitter forever. It simply means you're making a decision about the use of this particular social medium for the next six months.
Regarding the Working Stuff. It's easy to lose lots of time doing the things we like to do and calling it "work" or "marketing." But like anything else, too much of something is never a good thing. Balance is key.
Using the example above, I wouldn't recommend reallocating all your Twitter time to Facebook (especially if you already had Facebook listed in your original marketing plan). Instead, I'd take some of the Twitter time, apply it to Facebook, and then put the rest of that time towards something else: developing a white paper, developing newsletter topics for the next six months, or using the time for writing blog posts.
Bottom line: take this "down" time during the summer to review your marketing plan, the Not Working Stuff, and the Working Stuff. Then revise your plan so it's fresh and new and ready to roll in September.
Oh, and of course, if you need help with any of this, PMG is the best Boston marketing firm to turn to. I've seen some of the marketing plans they create, and they're fabulous.