You’ve got three basic choices. Keep on doing what you’ve been doing-and hope the result changes. (Some people say that’s the definition of ‘crazy.’) Or, jump to the new hot marketing trend and hope it saves you. (It won’t.) Or….you could set out on a month-long journey to turn your marketing around.

Is it possible to turn your marketing around in 30 days? Absolutely. Most business owners are doing marketing by accident. They have never linked their marketing to their business plan, and consequently, they have no idea how to focus their activity, triage their spending or evaluate results.

The great thing about setting out to overhaul your marketing in 30 days is the energy you’ll create around the changes. I find that most small business owners put off doing marketing because it’s a black box to them-they don’t really understand how it works, and so they don’t feel confident. So they don’t do it. But since they know marketing is crucial to success, they feel nervous, guilty, afraid about not marketing. What a bind!

Good marketing comes from good planning. Simple but true. So the first thing to do when you want to turn your marketing around is to go back to basics-your business plan. With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite tips turn your marketing around.

Tip #1-Re-read your business plan. Identify at least one marketing goal to go with each business plan goal.

Marketing goals that aren’t connected to your business plan need to be re-evaluated. Either you’ve got unspoken business plan objectives, or the marketing goal doesn’t fit.

Tip #2-Identify a marketing budget. It can be based on what you spent last year, on the 6% guideline often tossed out by experts, or on an arbitrary figure. I don’t care what you think you can spend-just pick a number! You can’t turn your marketing around without a budget!

Tip #3-Prioritize your business plan objectives and the related marketing goals. Rank them from most to least important. First order your business plan goals. Then rank the marketing goals for each business plan goal in priority order.

Tip #4: Under each marketing goal, write down your current marketing activities. Make a side list of other marketing activities that don’t fit. Add new marketing activities that you think should be part of the plan-but make sure they fit under a goal.

Tip #5: Allocate your marketing budget to the top three goals/activities in the list you’ve been building that’s linked to your business plan. Use whatever percentages you want to allocate your dollars, knowing that investment impacts outcome.

Successful marketing requires that you either spend money or spend “money equivalents.” What’s a “money equivalent?” Time, effort, barter and collaborations are all examples of “money equivalents.” They all have value, they are all finite, they all come with an opportunity cost, just like money, but they’re intangible.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Creating a marketing budget isn’t meant to lock you in with rigid parameters. But it does create guidelines, and it forces you to think about trade-offs before you snap up an advertising “bargain.”

Once you’ve linked marketing activities to business plan goals, priorities become more clear and you begin to understand what kind of evaluation methods will let you know whether or not your investment paid off.

It’s unlikely that you’ll ever have enough time and money to do everything that you want to accomplish all at once time. Prioritizing forces you to take action on the goals that will make the biggest impact and work your way down to the fine points.