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Whilst this year is still steaming on…. I could not help but think that we are nearly at the end of the decade. We will blink at the naughties will be over. But this is always the time of year we begin to think about what we will do next year… time to create a plan.

Sometimes it is a good idea to reflect on the past – to help you create the future. Steve Jobs once said, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it”. And I personally have taken that to heart.

Years ago I created marketing plans for organisations. I tended to follow a formula. Looking at what actions, tactics and activities fell under certain headings which were time and budget related. I reckon they were ok marketing plans. First of all, I listed all the activities we would undertake to achieve awareness, (how do we get people to know what it is we do) then I’d look at what would make a customer consider the service (product). (is there a valid reason for them to need or to consider buying a car. For instance, you might be aware of a BMW, but what would make you consider actually purchasing one…(I can’t remember which one but one of the car makers had the by-line of “please consider’ was it Holden perhaps?

Then we would look at what activities we would undertake to get people to prefer that product or service over another – that is to be at the top of the shopping list. Why would someone prefer to buy from you than anyone else?

But the most important thing of any structured marketing program, of course, is the fourth element of ‘purchase’ this can simply be a transaction – a one-off instance. (where the rubber meets the road to bring out an old sale cliché). But as far as I’m concerned that is not enough. A transaction does not a client make. That is mere ‘dancing’ – a test, a trial to see if you are who you say you are. To have someone become more than just a ‘purchase’ activity – the opportunity is to create a culture that does not ‘reward’ performance for the transaction alone but rewards based on relationships built.

But ultimately any great marketing plan also then articulates what is being done to engage and encourage advocacy. That is moving transactors to become customers, then clients, but ultimately to become an extension of the business – and to opening talk about your goods and services.

So my subheadings for a marketing plan

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Preference
  4. Trial (transaction)
  5. Customer
  6. Client
  7. Advocate.

Much of the energy in harnessing is in fact after the first sale is made. It is up to us as marketers to give them something worth saying.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Naomi,

    "That is moving transactors to become customers, then clients, but ultimately to become an extension of the business", For me, this is the real accomplishment of a business. The obvious achievement lies in the fact that you have provided the customers with a quality service and there is every chance that viral marketing will manifest from this. Girlfriends tell other Girlfriends about the great gifts they found for husbands, friends, children and the like. Males gloat, brag and talk about their great experiences driving a sports car, flying in an aircraft or spending a day being massaged by beautiful masseuses. Kids tell their peers about the awesome things that they or their parents did on the weekend and word ultimately gets around. There is no doubt that viral marketing is the most powerful form of advertising in the world, it goes hand in hand with gossip (which is termed by some as "the most powerful force in the universe’). In addition, I think that having the customer as an extension of the business makes the whole process more purposeful and meaningful. You’re not merely providing a service (an experience in your case), you’re affecting the lives of those around you, you’re giving something to those people, and the business is not just a ploy for creating wealth, but rather, it’s an integral part of a, or several, community. Along with building a business I think this is one of the genuine motivations behind creating a business. You shouldn’t be motivated by profit more than motivated by what you have achieved and what you give – although you cannot get anywhere without finances.

    “Sometimes it is a good idea to reflect on the past – to help you create the future.” For anyone else who reads this blog, take heed of this advice and hold on to it forever. Consistently it is said “learn from your mistakes”, but people rarely embrace this (including myself at times). From history itself we can learn from the mistakes of others and find more direction in the choices we make. This can applied to so many things in our lives, in your case it’s the marketing plan of Red Balloon Days for the next 12 months. It seems so simple and so truthful but lots of people fail to learn from the outcomes of each idea, learn from the failures and learn from the successes. From here you can build on your successes and learn to avoid or omit anything that was a failure. Wise words indeed.

    Naomi, I assume this would be a very busy time of year for you and RedBalloonDays, but I was wondering if it was possible to get in contact with you through email or the like. I have a few ideas I want to explore and ask you personally about. I am guessing that you know what my email is from the comments I submitted, so if it is at all possible to send me a reply at some time, confirming whether it’s OK to correspond with you over email, that’d be wonderful!

    I wish yourself and RedBalloonDays a Merry Christmas and all the best luck for the New Year!

    James.

  2. James – thanks for your kind words, and you are quite right it is so much more than about how the balance sheet looks. I’ll contact you by separate email

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