Avoid Marketing Emergencies by Planning Backwards

I’ve joked to friends that no one ever needs to reach me in a hot rush because there are no marketing emergencies. In fact, there are some things that might constitute an “emergency” (Sheldon quotes), such as a website going down or an app not working so a deadline can’t be met. And a real-life crisis can certainly impact business (such as a pandemic!). These are things we have no control over but they can have a steamroll effect.

Other things we may think of as emergencies can often be prevented by planning. And backward planning is an essential tool for marketing. Here’s an example…

Anyone who’s worked with me to start a newsletter knows that one of the first questions I ask is, “When do you want your first issue to go out?” From there, I work backwards to schedule all the activities leading up to that date.

A few months ago I started working with a new client, Carli, who decided that she wanted her newsletter to go out on the third Friday each month. Here is how we backward planned her monthly schedule:

N | Newsletter issue date | Friday
N -1 | Carli reviews the draft, advises if edits are needed, gives OK to send | Thursday
N -2 | Newsletter draft is proofed and checked | Wednesday
N -3 | Newsletter is prepared | Tuesday
N -4 | Content is received from Carli | Monday
N -11 | Reminder sent to Carli with content due date | prior Monday

When you’re planning activities with a specific date as a goal, try working backwards from the end. You can also schedule in some lag time to allow for unknowns. The next step is to add all the action items and deadlines to your calendar or bullet journal or your fave tool. I use recurring events on my Google calendar and schedule to infinity.

“I absolutely love working with Linda. She’s able to see opportunities and ways to improve my business that were blind spots for me. Initially, I just wanted some short-term help, but as time passed I realized how valuable she is and that I must keep her! She keeps me organized and on time with deadlines and reminders (so helpful when you are the boss and don’t have someone to report to!) and she is truly a kind, caring person. So glad our paths have crossed!” – Carli Jeffrey, Your Brilliant Mind