How to choose a goal for your back-to-school marketing campaign

back to school

For the next few weeks we’ll be working our way together through creating a marketing campaign for a specific personal goal. This is the first article in the series.

September is a great time to take stock of our personal goals.

If you reckon time in terms of cycles that begin December 21 or January 1, September is 2/3 to 3/4 through the year. There’s an energy toward harvest, finishing, and completion in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere it’s spring, with all of its freshness and new beginnings. Either one works.

In addition, many of us started school in the fall and so have been conditioned since childhood to sit down and apply a new surge of energy to our personal development this time of year. That makes this a great time to look at the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year, evaluate how we’re doing, and plan any adjustments we’d like to make during the remaing months.

So this week we’re going to look at your goals and choose one that you’d like to make real progress on between now and the end of the year. Once you’ve identified the goal you’d like to work on, check back at the beginning of each each week to read a new article about how to develop a personal marketing plan to focus your attention on succeeding at that goal.

The Back-to-School hack

You might already know what you want to work on. If so, you can skip this part. Otherwise, dig out the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of 2008. If they’re not written down already, you might find it helpful to jot down a few notes. While you’re at it, add any new goals that have arisen in the intervening months.

Now look through your list and first cross out any that you’ve already accomplished in the first 8 months of the year. Good job! From the ones that remain, try to identify several goals that meet one or more of these criteria:

  • It’s super important
  • You want to do this really soon
  • You’ve not made much progress on it so far

From this short list, pick one that you’d like to use for a personal marketing campaign over the next few weeks. Since personal marketing can help with almost any goal, I encourage you to choose based not so much on what you think will “work”, but on how much it’s something you really want to succeed at.

Personal marketing can help with a very wide range of goals, including:

  • Improving yourself mentally, physically or spiritually
  • Improving relationships with other people
  • Getting a job (or working less), building a business, making a contribution, or creating meaning
  • Going someplace, such as a dream vacation or road trip
  • Specific achievements like earning a degree or running a marathon
  • Character traits like patience, kindness, and courage

Write down the goal you’ve chosen on a Post-It note, and put it on your bathroom mirror. That’s your first ad. Over the next few weeks we’ll develop a much more nuanced and comprehensive marketing plan for this goal.

But I can’t think of anything

Perhaps you’ve read this far but you don’t have any written goals, have never done an exercise like this, and are not able to think of a darn thing that would apply. If that’s the case, you might find it helpful to ask yourself questions like this:

  • What would I do if I won the lottery?
  • How would I spend my time if I had one year to live? How about one week?
  • What do I think is the biggest problem in the world today? If usual limitations were suspended, what could I do to contribute to the solution?
  • What is my most important value? How could I better align myself with that value?

Still don’t know? Flip a coin. Seriously. Then write down the goal that wins and put it on your mirror, as above.

My implementation

I’ve used hiking and other physical goals as examples several times on this blog. What I didn’t share with you is that I’ve struggled with serious mobility challenges for most of the past year. Most recently, I was on crutches for much of my summer vacation. Although I’m on the road to recovery, the road is much longer and is requiring more patience than I thought it would.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep the faith, and even harder to resist becoming defined by this disability because it affects so many parts of my life. So my goal is quite literally to walk again. I think it will be enormously helpful to create a personal marketing campaign that reinforces my self-image as mobile, active, healthy, and free. I’ll be developing this campaign along with you over the next few weeks.

Your action steps

  1. Find (or write) your 2008 goals.
  2. Check off the ones you’ve already accomplished, and add any that are new.
  3. Identify remaining goals that meet one or more of the three criteria in The Back-to-School hack, above
  4. Pick one that you think would make a good topic for a personal marketing campaign.
  5. Write this goal on a Post-It note.
  6. Put it on your bathroom mirror.
  7. Check back Monday for your next step.

Other articles in this series

  • Week 1 – Choose a goal
  • Week 2 – Do market research on yourself
  • Week 3 – Write a slogan for the campaign
  • Week 4 – Take a picture of yourself having the outcome you want
  • Week 5 – Analyze the competition
  • Week 6 – Decide how to position your behavior change
  • Week 7 – Choose a prop to enlist the people around you to talk about your goal
  • Week 8 – Look for opportunities to simulate the experience/outcome you want
  • Week 9 – Make and deliver your personal ad
  • Week 10 – Project wrap-up

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