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
- Trial (transaction)
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.