Thinking Inside the Box
“Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.”
– Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit
We’ve all been there. Sitting poised in front of a computer, an open Word doc at the ready, the cursor blinking expectantly, and… nothing. You have the beginnings of a great idea in mind, but no clear place to start. Getting started is often the hardest part.
As with most things in life, effective marketing strategy is dependent on up-front organization and planning. That’s why we recommend our clients complete a “Project Outline” form at the start of any big project to make sure the goals and expectations are set.
Before undertaking any initiative, you should be able to answer the following:
- Describe the project. What is the end product going to be? A brochure, a website, an ad campaign?
- Describe the situation. What are the main reasons behind the communication piece? What is the competitive landscape? What opportunities are there in your arena?
- Describe the project goals. Are you trying to create more brand awareness? Direct traffic to your website? Generate sales leads? How will you track your goals?
- Describe your audience. To which job titles are you targeting your message? What are their points of pain? Why should this group be interested in your message? What are their expectations from your company?
- Describe the necessary content. What is the key message you want to express? What are the facts you have to prove the idea? What kind of content is required to tell your story? (photos, testimonials, videos, etc.)
- Describe the project constraints. What timeline must you complete the project within? Are there specific budget restraints? Which resources will be difficult to acquire? What factors might hold you back from succeeding?
- Describe the deliverables. In what format will your final project be delivered?
- Describe your timeline. What are the key milestones in this project? When will decisions be made? Can some project phases be done in conjunction with others?
Each of these criteria is necessary to consider while in the beginning stages of any major project. Proper planning up front will help you structure your thoughts, save headaches later on and ultimately make your project more successful.
Start with a box. Plan ahead. Don’t fear the blank page.