Plan Smart: Think Inside The Box


Small business owners work hard to find ways to continually attract new customers.

When it comes to getting new business, it’s fairly common for business owners or their marketing teams to toss what they tried in the past (whether it was successful or not) and say, “Okay, we need to think outside the box.”

Although the expression has become a cliché, it’s hard to argue with the appeal of outside-the-box thinking. How else will you be able to come up with fresh ideas to help you gain a competitive edge, right?

But throwing together a list of random ideas – no mater how inventive – is a piecemeal approach to marketing. It typically sounds something like this: “Maybe we’ll try posting more on Facebook, or running an ad. We should probably be on Instagram, too. And let’s do something with those email contacts we’ve collected.”

Frankly, this is not a concrete plan. In fact, it completely lacks direction.

So I’d like to suggest something really radical: Let’s think inside the box.

Invest the upfront time in creating a smart, strategic marketing plan.

I’ll admit this doesn’t sound sexy. Or cool. Or like it’s any fun at all. But it’s a valuable process that will save you time, money and resources. And help you and your team build your brand efficiently and effectively.

We’ll review and clarify your business goals, identify your ideal client, and then – and only then – determine which marketing channels will get you where you want to go.

Once we’ve created the framework for your smart marketing plan, then by all means jump out of the box and get creative!

The key is to boil down the brainstorming to ideas that align with your big picture goals. Eliminate any that are likely to sidetrack your progress – or unlikely to make it off the ground. Agree on those that promise to deliver results. And organize them into monthly activities and action items to keep you and your team on track.

Innovation is a key component of any marketing planning process. But to really have an impact, focus on the fundamentals first. Creating a practical foundation for your outside-the-box ideas will help you develop a clear and consistent marketing message to attract new customers – and build a long-term strategy for keeping them.

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