I hear this a lot from interior designers, I need a really strong marketing plan. When I ask, What do you want to achieve with that plan?
The responses are usually excited and passionate.
I want bigger jobs!
I want to get myself out there!
I want to be visible!
I start by getting specific about what is bigger? What does visibility look like and what does out there mean? You can’t measure success without milestones. But that’s usually where the passion and enthusiasm stops.
It’s ironic that the designers who are the most insistent on having a plan are usually the ones most resistant to following one. What they are really asking me for is a plan that’s not going to require them to do what it takes to get bigger jobs, get themselves out there, and be visible. They want a plan that will not require any growth or expansion. They want a plan that doesn’t include things that they don’t want to do.
Newsletters don’t work. I did a newsletter a couple of times and it didn’t work.
I don’t have time to do social media.
I know this job is smaller than my minimum, and is taking up a lot of time, but I’m going to get really great pictures and maybe referrals.
This client isn’t ideal but I can manage them.
What’s reading that book going to do? I don’t have time to read. I hate listening to audio in the car.
I want to write a book someday, I’ll worry about the blogging and social media stuff then.
I’m too busy.
The thing about busy is that lazy and procrastination are closely related. They all live in a family called resistance, the kinship opposing our growth and change. Your ego loves the tales they spin, except when it comes to the other people you take care of or the things you’re doing that are keeping you stuck, then you’re available all the time.
By definition a plan means that you have set an intention. It means you have made a decision to take action to get jobs, be visible and get yourself out there. A plan may look pretty on paper but it’s only as effective as the person it’s handed to. All the coaxing, nudging and positive encouragement in the world won’t work until you commit to do what it really takes.
If you keep telling yourself the story of how you don’t have time to, if you don’t decide to manage your calendar, to make space for the jobs and to take the steps that will stake your claim as a leader, no plan, no matter how thorough will help you.
Resistance is sludge, which means it often takes a shock of truth to get you back in flow. But that old saying about the truth was right: it hurts. My marketing plans are built on inspired action and change. Depending on how resistant you are while you’re making those changes and how resistant you are to taking responsibility for being stuck, you may find yourself shocked, often.
Because the thing about plans is that they don’t unfold while you’re faking it. Plans involve a lot of little actions, strategic ones, pursued over time. They respond to the energy of committed action, to baby steps. Interestingly, that’s when they get a little easier, when the unexpected happens to accelerate them, but not a second before then.
It’s kind of like saying that you want to lose 15 pounds eating cupcakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Good luck with that!
What it means to market has changed dramatically in the last decade—heck in the last year—and it will change again. And guess what? If you’re looking for shortcuts, you’re probably not in it to win it for the long haul. Because a really good marketing plan, the right marketing plan, a plan that is made to fit your business demands authenticity. It demands work. It demands real and true communication that results in relationships built over time.