Wait! Before You Write Your New Marketing Plan...

At the beginning of each year or when your career comes to another point
of frustration, you will sit down and write out an extensive marketing
plan. It will focus on all the goals you want to accomplish this year or
even throughout your career. Unfortunately, it will also focus on
repeating some of the same mistakes of the past simply because you have
forgotten to do one of the most important elements of your career.

Before you sit down to write the "ultimate marketing plan" that will
give you the direction your career needs, start writing your "book." If
you have gotten signed to a "Priority" status record deal in the past or
if you have gotten to that point in negotiations with a record company
where the head of marketing has asked for a copy of your "book" then you
know what I am talking about. Your "book" is slang for your Promotion
and Marketing Book. If this is new to you, here is the simple

Your Promotion and Marketing Book is basically a journal where you have
documented in detail, each and every week, all of your promotion and
marketing activities for your CD, live shows and any other aspect of
your music career. It is your detailed notes of how you have been
promoting you (the artist) and your music. What has worked and most
importantly, what hasn't. And what the results were! (Special note - if
you are in a band you need to write your own individual book and share
copies with other members.)

Your "book" will become the cornerstone of your future success in your
music career. It is your guide of what you did in the past, how you did
it, where you did it, what the exact results were, what your personal
thoughts were as to doing it again and whether or not to expand or
contract it. It will be your saving grace from not repeating the
mistakes of the past by helping you truly analyze each and every
promotion and marketing situation.

Since I am guessing that you haven't done one before, let me get you
started. Your new book is nothing more than a simple notebook to begin
with. Start by writing a comprehensive review of all of your goals of
the last year, what you accomplished and especially document in detail,
what you didn't. After you have done that, document as many of the live
shows you played as you can. Where were they? When were they? Times of
the year, days of the week, time slot you played. How many people came?
What did you do to promote the shows? How many CDs did you sell? How
much did the venue pay you? How much did you make at the performance? Be sure to write in detail what didn't work!

If you are honest with yourself, you will see where you have let
yourself down. Promoting and playing shows the same way each time. Only
promoting to your mailing list which isn't properly set up or
structured. Not doing enough to generate new fans. How your emails don't
distinguish the differences between one show and another. Now do
this same process with other aspects of your career.

Once you have written a comprehensive review of last year, it's time to
write out a realistic marketing plan for this year. Not one that has you
selling millions of CDs based upon a grid from some marketing book that
doesn't apply or software where you input imaginary numbers. Start small
and work your way up. You are not going to go from not having a CD
before or selling only 100-200 CDs last year to selling a 100,000 CDs
this year. Set real goals and plan to exceed them.

Once you have your yearly goals down, pick 3 or 4 small goals you need
to accomplish first, this month. Then write in detail how you are going
to attack these and accomplish them. Once you have done this, decide on
a plan of what you can do this week, even today to help accomplish these

Your new book needs to be updated weekly. Write detailed notes every
weekend! Then at the end of each month, type your notes into a Microsoft
Word document or file. The two reasons you do this are one, when you
type your notes you will expand even more on them and your mind will
generate more ideas and keep you focused on your goals and tasks. Two,
by having it on your computer in a Word document or file, you can use
your "keyword search" in the future to rediscover the places you played
or sold CDs at and what the details were. After all, can you remember
all the details regarding a show you played six months ago?

Your book (if you are honest with yourself and dedicated) will keep you
on the right path. Even when nothing seems to be working. Hundreds of
bands and solo artists signed to labels wouldn't be in trouble if they
had given the record company a copy of their book so they could build
upon their past success and not copy their past failures.

So before you go charging ahead making a marketing plan that will let
you down and don't know why, provide yourself with the foundation you
need to succeed.

Stuck? Not sure how to move forward? Call me directly at 909-303-9506 or
email me through my web site to schedule a time we can review where you are in your career.

Author Tim Sweeney is head of Tim Sweeney & Associates, who are entering their 18th year of being, "the only true artist development company in the world."

Tim is one of the music industry's most sought after experts and consultants, and has written several influential books including "Tim Sweeney's Guide To Releasing Independent Records".

Tim Sweeney