Manage Risk. Maximize Results.

As every savvy financial investor knows, managing risk is imperative for success. In advertising and marketing, risk management plays an equally important role. It helps those involved in the strategic and creative sides of the discipline work more closely together, quickly dismiss ideas that are doomed to fail, and develop powerful, effective communications that strike hard at their targets.

One way to manage risk in advertising and marketing is to subscribe to a tried-and-true "methodology." This type of process allows you to learn from the successes (and mistakes) of those who have gone before you. What follows is one such successful methodology, one whose tenets have helped me tremendously. I hope you find them helpful in your work, too.

1. Establishing goals.

When a race has no finish line, it's called a chase.
Running without knowing where you're going can be exhausting. It's an endless effort devoted to reaching a destination that has not been clearly defined. It is a prescription for failure.

Whether in life or in business, setting goals is important to your success. In the case of marketing and advertising, it's more than just important - it is critical. Although goal setting sounds simple, the task often becomes clouded and without focus. In fact, goals are sometimes dismissed altogether.

Clearly, this is a mistake. It starts with Senior Management.

Where are we going and how do we get there are the two essential questions that must be asked, answered, and agreed upon by the executive team at your company. It is necessary for senior management to clearly articulate and outline goals for everyone to follow. Why is senior management so important? Because without their buy-in and support, a negative domino effect may take place, resulting in weak organizational support, unrealistic budgets, fragmented results - and ultimately, failure.

Start by asking yourself and management exactly what do we want and need to accomplish? You'll probably find that each member of the executive team will have different goals. However, to create an effective program, it is necessary to narrow the focus and underscore the key goals and objectives to be achieved.

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Jeff Propper is the founder and president of The Lunar Group, a full-service advertising and marketing communications agency based in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. He can be reached at 973-334-8300, ext. 24 or at