Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

Years ago my son and his friend had a great idea for a business – selling used golf balls. They did extremely well, so well in fact that they had to stop. Why? Because they weren’t prepared for success.

For years my dad used to run around the golf course in his community. He also played golf religiously throughout the summer. During these activities he managed to collect thousands of golf balls. He usually gave them to the golf course where he played, but many were in excellent shape and so he kept them. Some he gave to my son. Before long a business was born.

The kids set up a full scale business. They washed all of the balls and sorted out those that weren’t in good shape. They looked for used sleeves to place the balls in for display. They made signs and started testing pricing on friends and family. Soon they were ready to go. They hauled their inventory in a wagon to a likely place to find an interested audience – the local golf course.

Before long they had a line of people waiting to buy their golf balls. This was followed by an angry golf course employee who promptly kicked them out of the small corner they were occupying. Seems they were cutting in to their profit.

However, a sponsor arrived to support them. A woman who lived right where they were trying to sell their product invited them to set up on her lawn. She also provided them with a written permission letter so they could set up any time they liked, whether she was there or not.

It was a great summer. They made a hefty profit, and could have continued indefinitely. But they were faced with a common problem among those who do well with their marketing efforts – more success than they had planned for.

Because they found a great niche, a great location, a great sponsor and were offering a good product – they completely sold out. Even with the valiant efforts of a dedicated grandfather looking for golf balls, they couldn’t sustain what they had accomplished. They weren’t prepared and couldn’t continue that level of success.

It is important for everyone engaged in marketing to thoughtfully consider the objective they are hoping to achieve. For some it may be creating awareness of a business or organization. It may involve a product or service. You may wish to encourage some sort of action or response. Whatever the objective, take time to ensure that if your efforts work that you will be prepared.

For my son and his friend, running out of inventory was okay. They had a great time, made decent money and were ready to move on. However, most businesses would experience a negative reaction to running out of inventory. Planning will ensure success.

Some things to consider when embarking upon a marketing campaign include:

• Do you have enough personnel to handle response?
• Is your website completely up to date?
• Do you have enough product or ability to provide the service you are promoting?
• Is there a plan in place to effectively capture information on new clients or customers?
• Have you included current customers and clients in your planning?
• Are follow up efforts in place?
• What are your next steps?

These are just some of the things that need to be considered in order to complete an effective marketing campaign. Don’t ruin a great campaign because you aren’t prepared. Be ready!

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.

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