The Power of an Effective Marketing Blueprint – Part 1

PART 1: The Blueprint Before the Plan

Each year we have “plans” to make a “plan”, but we never quite do. IF we make a “plan” – many times it’s put on a shelf and never executed. Let’s change that for 2016! Marketing Plans do not have to be lengthy; we are going to keep this simple.

Marketing is a discipline best described as a box of tools. One tool does not define marketing, and one tool can’t be marketing by itself. It is how you use the tools in concert that is marketing.

The marketing plan is its instruction manual. It is a living, breathing document, and should not simply live on a shelf when it is complete. Refer to the plan and refresh it as you activate the plan.

At some point we’ve all wanted to approach marketing backwards! Most people start putting together the furniture without looking at the instructions. How many times has your marketing committee, CEO, President or Marketing Director tried to solve a sales or awareness problem by using a tactic.

“We need a television spot!”

“If we did direct mail, we wouldn’t have this problem.”

“Our competition did an app…”

We have all done this backwards at some point!  It’s human nature to want immediate gratification. No matter your product or service, businesses can get reactive quickly, and that is the worst thing that they can do.

Famous Client Statements

“I just need a website.”

“I just need to get actionable, now.”

“I don’t have the budget to cover the cost of planning on the front end.”

“I need a billboard (ad, tv commercial, radio spot, etc.) because I got a great deal.”

“I don’t have any competitors.”

“I know who my target is.”
We believe in strategy and planning at Werkshop. We believe that in order for our clients to be successful, we must think through all options with our client, and determine the best direction on their behalf. So many times in my career, I have had clients come to me and ask for a web site or a brochure, and not want to invest the time and money in planning for how they will use that item when it is produced. So let’s dig in to each of these statements and why they are not viable approaches before we discuss the steps of marketing planning.

Spending money on the front end will make you money in the long run. Without a plan, you could spin your wheels and time and go in the wrong direction. One great example is a client of ours who is in the food industry. Their product was not doing as well as it originally did when it entered the market 15 years ago. Their first reaction was to re-do their package and think that would fix their issue. We will admit that initially we thought about this option, you would think that if you make the package appealing, that it will have to sell, but as we started asking the client questions, we learned that we needed to take a step back.

Before going through the planning steps, it is easy to think that you know your target audience and your competitors. It is easy to lose site of both as one or both can change if you are not keeping a close eye on things.

Step 1: Business Plan: If you don’t have one already, create a business plan and use it as a reference as you develop you marketing plan. This will be a guide as you evaluate how effective your marketing plan is on an annual basis.

Step 2: Marketplace & Competitive Analysis: It is just as important to know your competition, as it is your own business. We ask our clients to list their competitors and write down what they do better or worse than them. We also ask that they take a quick audit of what they are doing in the marketplace.

Step 3: Discovery & Brainstorming: We get our facts before starting the planning process. Fact-finding begins before planning ever starts. This is where we learn who you are and help you uncover unanswered questions about your company, product, brand and image. We like to start by brainstorming and collaborating on all of the great ideas. Get everyone’s input. That’s what large Post-It notes were made for!

Step 4: Target Audience & Demographic: Know your target audience and conduct research if you think you might need to alter your core demographic.

 Step 5: Brand Vision, Benefits & Attributes: Have a clear vision for your brand. Know what your benefits are compared to the competition. Lastly, form a brand personality, just like real peoples personalities, goes beyond just demographic descriptors. People can typically characterize each other on hundreds of personality trait adjectives.

Step 6: Brand Strategy & Messaging: Be purposeful and consistent. To create true brand congruency that leads to customer acquisition, the way a company “talks” about itself must always be consistent. From collateral to elevator pitches and web to print advertising, tone, vocabulary, key benefits and unique selling propositions must be outlined in a purposeful messaging exercise.

Finish up your marketing plan by reading  The Power of an Effective Marketing Blueprint – Part 2: Getting Tactical for the New Year to build your annual marketing plan.