by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips


A swell is a series of relatively same-sized waves created by a storm or wind. The waves break in a rhythmic pattern once the swell reaches shallow water. Swells happen naturally. They occur frequently. They are already in motion. Our job as marketers is to notice the swell and to ride it well.

So far in this series, we looked at the inner workings of the wave, which is composed of Awareness, Consideration and Decision marketing.

What if we soared above the ocean to look at the set more wholistically?  Once we notice the swell and get good at riding each wave well, how can we sharpen our processes? Here is a system:

Once annually, hold a Kickoff and Focus meeting with the collective marketing team. Review the previous year’s one-page marketing plan, including:

  • Big Important Goal (BIG) – Is the organization closer to reaching this long-term goal? If not, what needs adjusting?
  • Objectives – Is the organization closer to or has it reached its destinations along the road to reaching the BIG? If not, what needs adjusting?
  • Strategies – Quarter by quarter, what are all the actions the organization took to reach its BIG and Objectives? What worked, what didn’t?
  • Measures – Did the organization reach its Measures every quarter? If not, what needs adjusting?

Each month, empower the team to complete the research and align in strategic thinking about how best to close any known gaps in the coming year.

Week after week, continuously create and implement marketing tactics that support the Strategies.

Every quarter, align the team on the one-page marketing plan, analyzing, optimizing and evolving efforts to continuously improve outcomes

As American billionaire businessman and philanthropist Kevin Plank said, “Success doesn’t happen quickly. It happens from doing the same thing over and over, becoming great at it, and delivering great value to consumers.” Here’s to the many great swells before you!

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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