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Things can change at the drop of a hat, especially in the business world.

Based on trends, consumer response, new developments and countless other external factors, your business may sometimes be forced to do a complete 180 on it’s marketing plan at a moment’s notice. These situations can be stressful for all levels of a company and, if handled incorrectly, can force you to crash and burn among the chaos.

Fear not. There is light at the end of the tunnel and your business is fully capable of pulling off the seemingly impossible as long as you keep a cool head and embrace the challenge.

Take a second… breathe!

The sudden shift in direction can feel like a fire drill, but you won’t be any help to anyone without a cool head. Take a second to think, breathe and get a game plan.

Make sure you know exactly what needs to be done and start making a list. Will your new campaign require new graphics, commercials, flyers, signs, web updates and/or email newsletters? Hammer out any and all action items that you and other departments will be responsible for to get you moving in the new direction. Then, decide who is best suited to handle each assignment and add that to the list too.

Having a plan is half the battle; the rest is executing said marketing plan.

Set the plan in motion

Now that you know what has to be done, call a meeting with every involved department. This is the time to let everyone know exactly what they have to do and to hand out marching orders.

Go over exactly what kind of graphics you are going to need from your designers to be successful: social shares, new homepage graphics for the web, any logos for commercials and so on. Make sure your web team knows what updates need to be made, what landing pages need to be created, when they need to go live and when they need to be taken down. Nail down what the formatting and messaging for email newsletters, blogs and other written content your writers need to be focusing on and when it needs to be released.

No matter how big of a hurry you are in or how fast the turn around you are facing is, do not rush this part! It is vital to the success of the campaign that everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what they need to do. With everyone together you can use the opportunity to brainstorm on direction and tactics.

Make sure you also take this time to establish deadlines and then send your team on their way.

Stick with what works

When you are under the gun in a situation like this, it is important to stick with what you know works.

Do you have a production company you rely on for your commercials that has done good work in the past? Call them up! Do you have a printer you know can get you the new signs, flyers or cards you need on time? Turn to them! With rigid deadlines breathing down your neck, now is not the time to get fancy and try anything too outrageous. Go through your usual channels to ensure the job gets done right.

Your time for brainstorming may be limited. Turn to previous campaigns: what worked then? What didn’t work? Take inspiration from your previous work and follow the blueprints to build a new campaign that is special and unique in it’s own way.

Shelf your work… for now

Now that you’ve got the ball rolling you are probably in a position where you are feeling good about the direction and progress of your last second shift. You can start thinking about the future.

Chances are, with a last-second change in direction you probably have some completed or half-completed work already done. This is a good thing!

Don’t scrap it, just shelf it for the time being. Once you are done with your new marketing campaign you can turn your attention back to your original marketing plan. You’ll have the benefit of revisiting it down the line with a fresh outlook and the possibility of improving upon your work.

When disaster and unexpected changes strike, having a dedicated and prepared marketing team at your back can be the difference between being stuck in the weeds and cruising to the finish line. Is your company ready?

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Roundpeg is an Indianapolis marketing strategy firm