August is a great month. Summer is in full swing and employees are finding creative ways to use up the vacation time that they have built up all year long. It is also a great time of year to get a jump start on your marketing plans for the holiday season and beyond.
In working with our clients we have found that there is a common marketing practice that is just flat ineffective. It is easy to agree that it is ineffective and yet we have all done it at one time or another. I am referring to flying by the seat of your pants, planning at executing your marketing material at the same time. The most effective practice is to separate the planning and execution steps of the process so that you have enough time to think through the idea before implementation.
A current example of where things can go wrong when enough time is not spent vetting an idea is when a university athletic department decided to open up one of their star players to a question and answer twitter handle without stopping to realize that this particular star player has run into some off field issues that have made him a polarizing personality. They quickly found out that their PR stunt was gaining attention for all of the wrong reasons.
August is a great time to do your brainstorming. Deadlines are relaxed a little bit and your team is probably a little bit distracted. Brainstorming is often most effective with a diversity of perspectives and is harder to achieve when the team is stressed out about getting their next project done. We recommend a process where you gather in your marketing team and start with general ideas based on what the main focus should be each month and then narrow that down into the specific messages and channels to be used on each day.
By allowing plenty of time for your team to come up with the ideas and then implement them before the holiday season, you making sure that you have time to refine and craft your messages to be as effective as possible.
Try it yourself this year and take an hour or more to spend on marketing brainstorming and plan out the rest of the marketing year with your team.