There’s a weird partnership between perfectionism and marketing. You spend too much time thinking about how a campaign can go poorly and you miss an opportunity. But if you don’t think about enough, you might end up trending on Twitter in a bad way. How do you craft a plan that feels good but also stops you from becoming a nitpicking monster?

The best kind of plan here is to plan out the plan before all the plans. Say what? Yes, you need a plan for plans. I’ll break it down.

Let’s say you want to create a new drink and then advertise it. There are so many components to consider: ingredients, presentation, name, photos, timing of the announcement, etc. Maybe all these things are managed by one person or maybe they’re not. Have you ever broken this process down? Do you have a checklist, just like you would for closers, on everything to keep an eye on?

Some examples of what you might need to consider:

  • Is the drink name appropriate? (for example, let’s please stop saying, “dirty chai” and “chai tea.” Chai IS tea. You’re saying TEA TEA.)
  • Are you valuing the ingredients and drink if you took inspiration from another culture? The number of cafes who are just mixing in turmeric and matcha in everything and calling it some sort of exotic name…
  • Does the announcement day clash with a major holiday or event?
  • Could the slogan, name, photo be taken in any other interpretive way other than the one you intended? This is where having some checks in place with coworkers is very helpful.
  • Is it a pretty drink? Sorry, I have to add this in here. We live in a mobile phone photography world and you know the prettier the drink, the more it will be shared.

This is just a starting list of things to consider in a campaign launch and your plan for planning launches should consider all the types of launches (e.g. new location, menu change, new staff member) you do and what each one might entail. Brainstorming this way and reexamining the plans from time to time keeps you in check from making big mistakes. I would argue that this type of advanced planning frees you up to focus on the creative part of a launch. 

Even in the most dire times like the beginning of this pandemic when things changed by the hour, you still need to check things like spelling errors, updating your hours across all digital presences, and making sure customers are consistently updated. 

Today, I did a quick check of the Instagram profiles of the first 10 coffee companies that came into my feed. Of these 10, only two had a profile highlight with recent posts that talked about how they were operating. Some had a mention of a virtual tip jar. I couldn’t tell how most of them were doing: were they pickup only? Roasting any coffee? Donating anything? As a customer, I wouldn’t want to visit the cafe only to realize something major had changed (perhaps they’ve switched to ordering online for a pickup in person only). It’s frustrating to see that these small communication misses could be easily fixed.

If you’re planning on reopening or you have some extra time to plan, make a plan for the plans. 

P.S. I can help you with any of the above — I’m running free brainstorming sessions for COVID-19 affected coffee businesses.