“If I am through learning, I am through.”
This is one of my favorite quotes from the all-time winning UCLA basketball Coach and for more than a decade, I had the honor to work for a Company with a related core value: We Will Continually Learn & Improve.
The learning culture at Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc. propelled our success. Every manager could freely share ideas and mistakes to keep reaching for the highest bar. One of the business planning tools that we used was called Start. Stop. Continue. I point it out here because it’s a continuous learning model and can greatly help your marketing planning.
The way Start. Stop. Continue. works is you first make a list of the things you want to START such as testing a new idea to better please the customer or beat the competitor. Next, list those you should STOP such as programs that didn’t boost employee morale or didn’t have a ROI (abandon ship!). On a separate list, keep track of the proven methods you plan to CONTINUE.
This learning-based model will certainly help guide your strategic marketing planning and its evolving tactical execution. It’s useful on an ongoing basis. And heck, the Start. Stop. Continue. model can even help you grow on a personal level… perhaps to improve your relationships.
In the spirit of continuous learning, it’s important to always keep your eyes and ears (and brain) wide open especially when it comes to observing and learning how to navigate your communications strategy. I often find myself being a ‘scientist of human behavior’ (my passion for psychology started in college) and on a day-to-day basis, I’m an avid reader of diverse perspectives and expertise.
I learned early on from my expert marketing mentors (thank you Doug and Julie) to think of your marketing plan as a living document responding to the ebbs and flows of technology changes, customer trends, and research. In other words, it is the result of continuous learning. It’s an evolving tool that invites new infusion of tactics (ideas you want to START) while keeping true to proven successful strategies (those to CONTINUE).
A marketing plan should not reside on a shelf to collect dust but rather, it is a daily planner sitting front and center on your desk or desktop. It will keep you aligned to top priorities, force good time management and ensure respect to your budget.
I love working with clients to deliver a successful marketing effort and during the process, there’s a sweet bonus which is: we all get to learn and improve!