StoryPath Communications

Marketing Priorities: Big Rocks First!

We’ve all had those moments when juggling marketing priorities for our business feels overwhelming. There’s social media content to write, a new flyer to create, numbers to crunch regarding that last big promotion, and so much more. In the midst of juggling all those priorities, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s most important.

Big Rocks First is a productivity approach popularized by Stephen Covey, and it’s a general concept you can apply to marketing priorities as well.

The basic idea of big rocks first

If you have a vase that you want to fill with big rocks, small rocks, sand, and water, the order you put them in matters. If you put water first, and then sand, then small rocks, putting a big rock in causes the water to overflow. But if you start with the big rocks first — the highest priorities — you can then fit little rocks, sand, and water around the big rocks.

If you have a lot of things to tackle for marketing your organization, the big rocks first approach can be helpful. All the pieces still matter to create a cohesive marketing strategy for your organization, but the order you do them can help make the best use of your marketing budget over time by ensuring a better ROI for each step.

Big rocks in your marketing priorities

What classifies as a big rock or small rock can vary from one business to another, but these are some general things that we typically classify as big rocks when it comes to marketing priorities.

A marketing strategy is the biggest rock and always the first step we recommend taking. It’s imperative that you know your audience, have a clear message to share, and understand how to use the available channels to get that message to your audience.

Your brand is the identity of your business, which includes your logo, color palette, voice, values, etc. Everything else about your business flows from having clarity about your brand and what matters to you as a business.

For most businesses, the website is a central piece of your marketing efforts. Nearly every other channel — social media, email marketing, print materials — drives traffic back to your website to provide more information and covert that prospect into a customer.

Smaller rocks in your marketing priorities

Once you have a clear consistent brand in place and a well-designed an well-written website, then you can move on to some things that typically classify as smaller rocks.

Social media is a key component for many organizations. While some skip the website and go straight to social media, it’s not a strategy we recommend very often. The website comes first, then you can get into reaching your customers through social media and driving them back to your website for more information.

Blogging typically can’t happen until you have a website in place, but it’s a great layer to add once you have a solid website in place. The blog content lives on your website, and you can drive more traffic there through social media and email marketing.

Email marketing is one the best options to reach your customers regularly. But, like other smaller rocks, it’s helpful if you have a strong brand identity and a strong website in place first. Once you do, email marketing can help you stay top-of-mind for your customers over time, and it’s often a more reliable channel than social media when it comes to reaching your customers.

We won’t get into all the little things that could count as sand or water when it comes to marketing priorities — though there are plenty — but we encourage you to think about the big rocks first when it comes to planning how you spend your marketing time and marketing budget.  

If you need help with prioritizing your marketing efforts, reach out to us about developing a communications plan, where we identify your action items in order of priority for you.

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