If you want to continuously create marketing that delivers, you should tune up your marketing engine at least once a year. I like to do it early in each new year.

The first step is to take a mental inventory of the advertising you’ve been seeing in the press and on TV and hearing on radio. If you have a swipe file, something every serious marketer should develop, spend a few hours going through the samples of direct-mail and advertising you have collected.

Review all your own marketing campaigns even the ones that didn’t work as well as you had hoped.

Next, ask yourself the following questions:

1.      Which promotions were most effective at catching my eye?

2.      What aspects of most demanded my attention?

3.      Did I respond to any of these advertisements? And why?

4.      In my business, were there any themes that seemed to be working better than others this year?

5.      What ideas in other peoples advertising could I incorporate into mine?

6.      How could I adapt them to my business and my clients?

If you spend a few hours brainstorming like this based on what you see others doing at least once a year, you will find it triggers tremendous freshness and power in your marketing and advertising for the next 12 months.

Make this a regular habit. If you are not already collecting other people’s great advertising and marketing for your swipe file, you are missing one of the most important habits in becoming a great marketer.