The word "plan" automatically implies being proactive, right? Whether you're a solo artist or part of a team, there will be several elements of your marketing plan that repeat seasonally or are otherwise centered around a calendar schedule. For example, there are maker events and outdoor art shows every spring and summer, holiday boutiques toward the end of each year, monthly submission deadlines for local newspapers, weekly targets for posting content on social media. By researching opportunities and plotting these dates as far in advance as possible, you can work backwards from each date to create a realistic production schedule that ensures a more successful event or a more engaging media piece.
But it's also important to leave wiggle room in your plan for being reactive - when you're suddenly inspired with a cool idea for a collaboration, you discover an interesting new venue, a colleague surprises you with an incredible referral, or a unique chance for affordable exposure just falls from the sky. Maybe these exciting little gems can sit on your waiting list to explore next year, but sometimes they're just ripe for the picking and totally warrant dropping everything to make it happen right now.
There's no magic mathematical formula for how much of your marketing plan should be proactive versus reactive. It depends on your particular product/service, your resources and how established you are in your marketplace. But you'll know when the ratio is off and needs tweaking - when things become stressful and everything feels rushed and unorganized...or if your days become so routine that it saps the creativity right out of your soul.
What helps keep your marketing plan in balance? Two very boring but crucial words...measure and analyze. Make sure you know what's working and what's not...and why. Ask yourself these important questions - are you increasing sales and exposure with your efforts, are you connecting with new potential customers and collectors? When you look carefully at the results of each effort, you'll be better equipped to decide how to proceed. Will you repeat the performance, make it bigger and better next time, or switch gears and try something different?