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The Marcom Manager

Reprinted from News-To-Use, Vol.7, No.2.
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Marcom -- the department where anything is thought to be possible. Here's a few ideas to help you develop an effective plan of action:

1. Determine objectives. Get management's help and set goals that are specific and measurable: sell X units 2nd quarter, increase leads by Y%, write X orders at a trade show, sell all obsolete warehouse stock, etc. Once you know what the goal is you can determine how to achieve it.

2. Set budgets. Few subjects create more controversy than advertising budgets. The methods vary from repeating last year's numbers to a percentage of sales. Either practically guarantees little chance of growth because both are based on past performance, not future. There's also the leftover method -- budget everything else and what's left over belongs to advertising.

But since you have determined clear objectives for the year, you can better resolve what it will take to accomplish those objectives and give you a stronger case to present to management for an adequate budget.

3. Prepare project calendar. Every Marcom department faces daily deadlines. If you make them clearly visible on a wall calendar the planning process is much easier. What is the closing date for the new ad? When does the literature have to ship? When should the press conference reservation be made? Forewarned is forearmed.

4. Share the load. It only feels like you're expected to do everything yourself. Let your creative team know early that you need new literature for the March trade show. The more you can break the projects into components the easier it is to delegate and keep the task moving. And if you allow adequate working time, you'll get better results with much less stress.

5. What do you really want? Working under duress multiplies errors. So be clear about what you need others to do, what the end results should be and how you need it done. Need source from the product manager? Maybe a few pertinent questions will help the information flow. You need a brochure: but do you want a 4-page or a data sheet? Spell it out the first time. Remember: there's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over.

6. Track results. If you know the results of your efforts, you can correct mid-year and stay on target. If something is not successful, figure out why and change it. Good results make great heroes.

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