Marketing Smart, Starts With a Marketing Plan.
Ever hear of a company that launched a successful new business campaign without a qualified, measurable plan? It does happen, as do lottery winners and the odds are about the same. Fact: No major player in the B2B and B2C space makes a marketing move without research and planning. That’s why they’re the majors. They discover the path of least resistance and the path of highest probability and often know before a project is launched if it will succeed and how well. The good news is you don’t have to be a Microsoft or Proctor & Gamble to market smart.
Perhaps you’re thinking that research is expensive and marketing plans sit on shelves. A fair assumption; but the truth is you will profit immensely from the planning process if it is completed and executed correctly. Guaranteed!
The first step to serious brand and business development success is to discover the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your market and your competition. The next step is to form a measurable, quantifiable and executable plan… a realistic plan… one that will stimulate best thinking, make best use of your resources, identify new marketing opportunities and turn them into manageable measurable results.
The “Who” in the planning process clarifies who you will partner with to develop and execute the plan. Who are the key employees on your planning team and what will their roles be. Who are the necessary marketing vendors. Who are the affiliates, investors and consultants who will be needed for this collaborative effort. In the “who” equation, talent level is critical, so work with the best you can get. Your growth and your sanity depend on it.
“What” implies your position in the market from both a corporate or product/service perspective. Define and/or create value propositions that your audience can only get from you. And please, kill the “more of the same” that exists in your market by differentiating your brand. Go big or go home as they say!
The “Where” question identifies where you will market. It could be to the end-user, channel-partners, affiliates, and people or groups that are talking to the same people you want to talk to. This is your database, and the phrase the “database is the business” couldn’t be more relevant than it is today. Ample time should be spent in this process as company turn-arounds and better bottom lines have occurred simply by identifying, stratifying, prioritizing and approaching the proper markets.
“When” is simply the time frame to execute the plan, usually an annual event with specific tactical timelines for each project and accountability points along the way. The value of the timeline is that it provides foresight to integrate marketing mediums translating into improved marketing effectiveness and the measurability needed to keep your plan and your people on track. A plan without detailed timelines is a fantasy.
90% of all businesses have no strategic plan, 7% have a fragmented plan, the 3% who consistently employ strategic planning - rule the world.
“Why” gets into the mission of the company, the philosophy, the stand. It shows up in the emotion of your people who hopefully have been given a purpose worth 110% participation. For example, at Breviti our mission is: Whatever it takes everyone wins, and we mean everyone; the UPS driver, our vendors, employees, clients, even solicitors get the fullness of commitment to make a positive difference in the lives of people. It’s a mindset we establish with everyone who represents the agency and a commitment we can get our hearts around.
“How” refers to the tactics you will use in the marketing mix; sales and sales promotion, advertising, social media, interactive, public relations, direct response, branding, etc. into a single integrated program for coordination at all marketing levels. Planning allows you to test these tactics and refine their use and their effectiveness, which means over time, you’ll be doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t, thus your marketing will be optimized.
To sum it up, if you want to market smart, you must create a plan, work the plan, measure the plan, refine the plan and finally, reap the success that even the most basic plan will bring. “It’s not rocket science; it’s a simple commitment to plan.”