At MEMO, we try to help other businesses by teaching them strategic marketing. Our local marketing seminars have allowed us to trained over 100 business owners, and we look forward to training hundreds more.
But recently, in a follow-up meeting with a business owner who had attended one of our seminars, I was asked a very important question.
“Your seminar was one the most informative marketing seminar I have ever attended. Some theory, but mostly lots of practical application. My biggest question though is what do I need to do to make sure this marketing plan process is embraced in my company?”
Initially this question caught me by surprise because I assumed (I know… never assume) I covered that well in the seminar. Turns out, after looking through my slides and notes, I didn’t even touch this topic — and she was right to ask me about it!
After some reflection, I thought back on times when we were not successful for clients. And what this shows me is that, regardless of what you know and how you go about it, there are a few things that must happen for a marketing plan process to be effective.
There are three to be exact. Here they are:
A commitment to this effort must start at the top.
In most companies, things that are important to the owner are important to everyone else. The key as an owner is to keep your eyes on the right things. Planning is a crucial piece of the puzzle. When employees see the owner being strategic, they will think strategically too. When they think something isn’t important to the owner, it won’t be as important to them either. It’s just that simple.
All influential company leaders must be involved and buy into the process.
It’s easy to have one or two respected leaders in the company not “buy-in” and undermine all that the group is looking to do. Make sure that all leaders are in support of what the company is planning. If not, address it immediately. Don’t fall into the trap of getting only the leaders involved who think like you. Those who don’t will make it difficult because their input was not considered from the beginning. Often with their different perspective comes different ideas you many not have thought of. Embrace that.
You must create deadlines and stick to them.
Without deadlines, putting out fires take precedent. Without deadlines, employees feel “it’s just not that important.” Without deadlines, it just won’t (and I repeat WON’T) get done.
The key is to not overwhelm employees or yourself with unrealistic deadlines. Even though planning is important, day-to-day business still has to get done. Break the process into small, manageable chunks. If you miss a deadline, re-establish a new deadline and adjust other deadlines to compensate as needed.
Addressing these three critical elements in addition to leveraging our process is key to succeeding in your marketing efforts.
If you haven’t downloaded our workbook on the 4 pillars of a successful strategic marketing plan, below is a link to that file. You might be surprised to know what is keeping you from growing awareness of the problems you solve and generating the leads that make a difference to your business.