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We are, by nature, a deadline driven society. We make lists, prioritize what needs to be done by date and then measure ourselves by how much we can get done in a day. Our focus is on the “here-and-now;” and this is further ingrained into our behavior by the desire for instant gratification. This makes us more susceptible to choosing activities that will produce immediate results over activities that may produce better results in the long-term. To insulate yourself from this behavior, you need to adopt a system of decision making that places a premium on the total contribution over time rather than short-term benefit as you build a marketing plan.

This is particularly true when building your marketing strategy. In many instances, marketing opportunities are evaluated in a vacuum, with the primary criteria being the time, money and resources available at that time. In these cases, it is often the “squeaky wheel” that wins because they ask more frequently and will eventually find a time when all three variables are available.

A more meaningful way to evaluate your marketing opportunities is to understand the potential of each in comparison to the required resources and how they might otherwise be allocated. For example, $25,000 set aside for a Google advertising program at the beginning of the year could also be spent to attend a sales summit or sponsor a series of newsletters later. If the Google advertising campaign will produce 1000 leads and the sales summit and newsletter sponsorships will product 600 each for the same investment, then choose the latter.

The challenge is having visibility to all your options for the foreseeable future, being able to modify your plan when new opportunities arise, and not falling into a state of inaction. Missing an opportunity is not the same as selecting an alternative. The difference is having the information at your fingertips to make and justify your decision.