A boss of mine at Philips when I was a humble brand manager had this saying “Plan the work – Work the plan” and we while all used to take the mickey out of the way he said it – he had a very distinctive voice – he was always the top performing Divisional Director. Every year, he’d slam his targets into the long grass. Although he was a wily operator, his advice stuck with me. It worked because the plan was:-
- Challenging but realistic
- Simple and uncomplicated
- Written down
- Agreed both up and down the food chain
- Communicated to all parties that needed to contribute to its success
- Monitored constantly
- Activities adjusted where appropriate.
Obviously the planning at Philips was a complex and involved process involving lots of stressful meeting with the grown-ups, and smaller businesses might be tempted to believe that a marketing Plan is not needed. This couldn’t be further from the truth – it’s a fundamental tool in their growth potential.
So here is a our quick and dirty marketing plan that won’t take too long to write, but will explode your marketing effectiveness. We’ve even produced a spreadsheet to help you put it all together.
Start with your target customer and his needs and work out your proposition based on their point of view. And you do this BEFORE:-
- you design a new website (or re-design your old one)
- or produce an outbound email
- or run an ad campaign
- or produce a brochure
- or anything else ….
There’s a blog post I wrote that you can find here to help you define your proposition or product positioning.
In developing the Marketing Plan, it is basically in 2 parts. First is a written overview of your objectives and the strategy for achieving them; and secondly a marketing calendar that forms both your budget and marketing activity calendar.
Use the overview to define your objectives:-
- Need to be quantified
- Analysis of past performance
- State the Value proposition and the benefits that accrue
- Identify the target market
- Brand identity and Niche
- 5-10 marketing tactics
- That worked
- That you want to try
- With expected outcome
- Set a budget to invest in marketing
These 2 elements of the marketing plan, especially the calendar, should be the driver of your whole commercial activity. It really important that each activity is diarised for implementation and that once its set up that you stick to it. If the unexpected happens, make the changes to the plan immediately and implement that one rigorously instead.
We’ve put together a really simple template for you to use – its an excel spreadsheet and will take about 30 minutes to kick off.
Monitor what sales meetings you generate by each activity so you can plan more of what is successful.
Use purpose designed Landing Pages to track website traffic from as much outbound marketing activity that you can. Set up unique URLs that mimic the offer you have made to your targeted customer in outbound emails, postcards, adverts – in fact everything that you do. You can then track what messages your target market is responding to best.
Written by Matthew Simmons