When it comes to marketing and marketing communications, I’m all about schedules. As you’re working on concepts and ideas, unbridled creativity is wonderful, but when it’s time to execute, nothing beats good-old-fashioned discipline.

But having schedules doesn’t mean they have to be carved in stone, especially if you face unexpected factors or if your target audience is experiencing some kind of major problem. For example, if you’re about to roll out a limited-time special offer and Mother Nature surprises your community with the worst snowstorm in a decade, you may want to hold off on promoting it … or if it’s already out there, you may want to extend the deadline.

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Whether you’re distributing a regular email blast to customers or mailing a good-old-fashioned printed piece, newsletters (or whatever you choose to call a regular message to your stakeholders) are one of the best ways to stay connected with and on the minds of the people who matter to your business.

I’ve noticed that many companies agonize over one aspect of these publications: when to distribute them. And no, I don’t have a magic answer. Most of the time, exactly when you send it is far less important than the fact that you do send it. There may be a time of the week or month during which your average recipient is more receptive to your messages, so common sense would tell you that’s a good time.

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I’ve been working with companies for nearly three decades. I’ve seen a lot of marketing programs succeed, and I’ve seen a lot crash and burn. Many different factors play roles in that success or failure, but you might be surprised at the one element that always seems to be part of successful efforts.

It’s organization. Something as simple as a rigid schedule often spells the difference between success and failure. Whether it’s trying to sustain a monthly newsletter, produce an annual report, or stretch a marketing budget across a full year, the discipline of some sort of schedule is critical.

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