Nothing is more dangerous to a marketer than the New Year.

The New Year has way too much oxygen. It makes you want to want to climb the semi-highest mountain. Swim half the river, perhaps.

It's like being in a plane with too much rocket fuel, Vrrooom, vrrooom, and more vrrooom!

Suddenly, you feel tough enough to take on 32,587 projects...

You want to get right into the meat of promoting your Web site, creating knockout copy for your brochure, putting together presentations that will drive customers by the truckload.

Hmmm... you've just inherited a curse: the curse of 32,584 projects too many.

Without realizing it, you're going to head right bang smack into trying to do too much in too little time. And, suddenly, focus becomes a headache.

Let me draw up a 'migraine list' for you...

  1. Updating your blog

  2. Digging into search engine marketing

  3. Revamping your site

  4. Putting more power into your sales pitch

  5. Creating and marketing of new products

  6. Testing everything (yes, everything!)Trying to work out Google ads and Adsense

  7. Working on newsletter and other forms of education

Yada... yada... yada!

See? It's already starting to affect me.

Just building that tiny list is starting to make my head spin. So much so, that I had Point No. 7 follow Point No. 7. And if just writing a mini-list makes my brain go waka-waka, maybe that list isn't as mini as it should be.

So how does three sound to you? Yes, just three projects

Most businesses will read a marketing book and then try to follow a plan. An actual marketing activity schedule is based not on a follow-the-dots plan, but a whole lot of things all at once.

OK, so I'm confusing you. Let me explain:

Last year (2004) we at Psychotactics decided to do the following:

1. Create new content.

2. Meet and develop relationships with specific strategic partners

3. Increase referrals.

Now these are just three things. All measurable.

Let's just take one project. Let's just take referrals.

If you increase referrals by just 50%, which is not hard to do, you're looking at far more business. Why? Because referrals drive 90% of most of your business and mine.

So an increase in referrals is an increase in business. If we agree on this fact, let's move ahead logically and purposefully. What do we hope to achieve?

  1. Purpose: Increase referrals.

  2. Principles: Why? Because we would like to increase profits and also help other businesses achieve what they want to achieve. 

  3. Outcome visioning: More clients in the funnel by the end of the year. Happier clients who've bought into our products/training.

  4. Brainstorm: We work out all the craziest ways to create referrals. This is random. It doesn't depend on doability or budget. Just crazy brainstorming.

  5. Organize: We then organize what works and what doesn't.

  6. Next Action: What do we do next. The actual steps.

(Steps taken from Getting Things Done by David Allen.)

Three or three thousand? What's the reality factor?

Now don't get me wrong. Under each of the three project sit about 3,000 activities that need to be done, checked off and thrown in your outbox.

So to get the referrals growing by 50-300%, we have to do X number of sub-projects.

But as you can clearly see, the 3,000 sub-projects have to fall into the three main projects, or the sub-projects simply become "non-projects."

How much do you want to grow your business?

100%? 223%? 866%? You see, just three big projects, or sometimes even one, can take your business above among those bumpity clouds. And you'll have specific goals. You won't be doing the let's-stop-over-in-every-country anymore.

Here's how to set the plan:

  • Step One: Get yourself a sheet of paper and a pen. No need to be extravagant. A Post-It will do nicely. Turn off your computer. Otherwise you'll get some darned email and this plan of yours will turn to custard. 

  • Step Two: Write down the three main projects to be achieved and by how much. 

  • Step Three: Post the Post-It on your wall, computer—wherever you can see it. 

  • Step Four: Extravagance is in order. List everything you need to do to achieve those three main projects. You can use the format above. 

  • Step Five: Drink a tomato juice. You've earned it. If this plan took all day to write down, add vodka.

In Conclusion...

If you can do the three big things this month, quarter or year, you'll not only achieve more and earn more but also find that all of the above is measurable. Best of all, it will give you a sense of focus; a sense of True North.

When you're wondering why the heck you're doing what you're doing, you can always revert back to the purpose of your three big projects.

If you use this system of three for yourself, your business will grow amazingly well. If you use it for your clients, they'll love you for it.

It's not so much about marketing as it about structure. When you understand structure, you'll understand that marketing only works at its efficient best when you have the right structure.

"Work smart, not hard," they told you.

No one said you'd need an ax to get there, did they?

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Sean D'Souza uses age-old psychology, marrying it to modern technology, on his Web site, Can "psychological tactics" make a difference? Go there and find out.