photo © 2009 Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig | more info (via: Wylio)
I was once asked by a business owner, “What do I need to do to move my company from a loss position to one of profits?” I told her the answer was easy: increase revenues and decrease expenses. I explained that the implementation was the hard part.
There were a few key steps along the journey to creating a marketing plan to elevate the firm to the next level. The points below are mainly focused only on the revenue side of the equation. Equal care and analysis are needed to manage expenses.
Vision: We started with the owner’s vision for the business. Then, we compared and contrasted the owner’s vision with what the employees described. We identified and explored mismatches, overlaps and gaps. The outcome was a vision everyone shared and agreed was correct for moving the business forward.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT): I met with the owner and staff to assess the firm’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that would need to be dealt with to achieve the vision. Aside from enumerating and measuring many factors, we created an action plan list by responding to these two queries:
1. To shore up major weaknesses and avoid major threats, we will take the following actions …
2. To build on our strengths and opportunities, we will take the following actions…
Value Propositions: Informed by the vision, the SWOT helped identify today’s customers as well as tomorrow’s customers. These two groups are not always the same. A value proposition was created for each type of target customer. Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) were created for each group to guide the sales effort.
Marketing Plans: The Vision, SWOT action steps and Value Propositions including USPs all feed into a Marketing Plan. The plan encapsulates the best thinking about where the company is today and where it is going over the next 1-3 years. The plans help you establish the actual tactics and marketing tools you will use to acquire and retain customers.
Implementation/Management: The owner and employees MUST agree on what the tactics are, who owns them, what is to be delivered and by when. The owner or key employee must manage the process and the deliverables. The oversight ensures timely completion of the necessary work to implement the entire Marketing Plan.
A thorough planning process will result in actionable ideas to keep the firm moving profitably toward its goals. Plan the plan and work the plan.
That is what we discussed. How about you? Please comment below.
1. Are there other steps to the process that you would add?
2. Do you feel one of the steps is the most critical?
3. Do you plan the plan and work the plan?