by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips


Success in marketing is quite simply creating a focused energy people notice. This is already in motion:

  • The referral and social networks for amplification already exist.
  • The media outlets for momentum are already up and running.
  • Your target audience is already intentional about finding care services.
  • The internal and external teams for execution are at the ready.

Our job as marketers is to notice the swell and to ride it well.

What is a swell?

A swell, or long-term strategic marketing plan, is a series of relatively same-sized waves created by a storm or wind. The waves, or quarterly marketing actions, break in a rhythmic pattern once the swell reaches shallow water.

Swells happen naturally. They occur frequently. They are already in motion.

Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great about The Flywheel. The premise is that with disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action, we can achieve energy buildup then breakthrough in business. He suggests that business owners and executives must “relentlessly push a giant heavy flywheel in one direction, turn upon turn” (Collins, 14).

I pose that less pushing is necessary, more noticing and riding it well. Collect data to notice or identify where your marketing swell is occurring right now. Focus all marketing efforts on riding it well, first by getting your target audience’s attention and amplifying your message with the right calls to actions. This keeps their attention and invites them to let you help resolve the needs they have right now.

Get the next installment in this series: How Your Target Audience Watches Marketing Swells.

Since 2007, Big Buzz® has helped Stage II to Stage III organizations systemize marketing to achieve growth goals. Founder and CEO Wendy O’Donovan Phillips is the author of two books available on Amazon, Kaboom and Flourish, multiple data-driven eBooks, has been published in McKnight’s, in Forbes, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, ABC News, and Chicago Tribune. She has lectured for the American Dental Association, Argentum, several chapters of LeadingAge, and dozens of other organizations in front of audiences ranging in size from 25 to 3,000. She has been honored by the American Marketing Association for excellence in her field and has been named a Gold Key Award Winner by the Business Marketing Association. In her two-decades-long career, she has consulted with hundreds of organizations globally to support improved marketing clarity, strategies, and outcomes. Get details: visit and follow Wendy.

by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips



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