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Smarta Marketing Ideas for Smarta Marketers

Category: Marketing Planning

Putting Together a Marketing Plan

Dr. Brian Monger

Good Marketing Management is crucial to marketing success. Remember, marketing is more than just running a few ads or posting a few status updates on a social media site. Marketing management includes several different components that come together to make an effective marketing plan. The plan should include an overview, situation analysis, marketing strategy, marketing tactics and, most importantly, a marketing budget.

Marketing Plan Overview

The first step in your marketing project management is to create an overview, or summary, of the entire plan. This overview should be no longer than one page and discuss the main points of the marketing plan. Write the overview last to be sure you don’t miss any important points when writing the summary.

Objectives

Objectives are measurable goals.  The basis for your objectives will likely be in the Business Plan.  You develop or translate these into Marketing Objectives.

Situation Analysis

The situation analysis is the foundation of the marketing plan and is critical to good marketing management. Include any market research and competitive analysis.  Details of current market size, projected growth, information about your competitors. Also include an assessment of your business, including strengths and weaknesses (SWOT), and a summary explaining how you will develop Strengths and overcome Weaknesses.  Detail likely Opportunities and  potential Threats.  Be honest and as specific as you can.

Target Market

Be sure to define your target segment/target market (customers) in detail.  The Target Market profile will become the basis for all your marketing strategy.  If it is only a few lines long it is not going to very specific or useful. Check out articles on Segmentation and Targetting in the Smartamarketing blog (see details at the end of this article)

Strategy

The marketing strategy section includes how you plan to achieve the marketing objectives you determined. This section of the project should include the Marketing Mix Strategy – Usually focused on the “four P’s:”

Product – Describe your product (Product includes Services), and be sure to include both features and benefits.

Price – The pricing strategy used to determine the pricing of your Product.

Place – The location where you will sell your Product (including services), distribution channels (physical or on-line).

Promotion – The methods you plan to use to promote your product or service.

Be sure to include how the strategy should be implemented – the marketing tactics that will be used such as advertising, social media, events, Personal Selling and other forms of Promotion.

Schedule

Include a monthly/weekly schedule (timelines) of events

Marketing Budget

Complete your marketing plan with a budget created from the costs associated with each section of the plan. Be realistic when creating the budget, using actual costs whenever possible.

Review Regularly – and adjust

Check that you are obtaining the desired results. If not, adjust the plan and budget.  Reality needs flexibility

Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known business consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects.  He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

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The Need to Better Understand Management Planning

Dr. Brian Monger

The degree to which a company is able to cope with its operating environment is very much a function of the understanding it has of the management planning process as a means of sharpening the rationality and focus of all levels of management throughout the organisa­tion.

This requires further explanation.  What most companies think of as planning systems are little more than forecasting and budgeting systems.  These give impetus and direction to tackling the current operational problems of the business, but tend merely to project the current business unchanged into the future – something often referred to in management literature as ‘tunnel vision’.

The problem with this approach is that because companies are dynamically evolving systems within a dynamically evolving business environment, some means of evaluation of the way in which the two interact has to be found in order that there should be a better matching between them. Otherwise, because of a general unpreparedness, a company will suffer in­creased pressures in the short term, in trying to react and to cope with environmental factors.

Many companies, having gone through various forms of rationalisation or efficiency- increasing measures, become aware of the opportunities for making profit which have been lost to them because of their unpreparedness, but are confused about how to make better use of their limited resources.  This problem increases in importance in relation to the size and diversity of companies.

In other words, there is widespread awareness of lost market opportunities through unpre­paredness and real confusion over what to do about it.  It is hard not to conclude, therefore, that there is a strong relationship between these two problems and the systems most widely in use at present, ie. sales forecasting and budgeting systems.

The most frequently mentioned operating problems resulting from a reliance on traditional sales forecasting and budgeting procedures in the absence of a management plan­ning system.

1.         Lost opportunities for profit

 2.         Meaningless numbers in long-range plans

 3.         Unrealistic objectives

 4.         Lack of actionable market information

 5.         Inter functional strife

 6.         Management frustration

 7.         Proliferation of products and markets

 8.         Wasted promotional expenditure

 9.         Pricing confusion

 10.       Growing vulnerability to environmental change

 11.       Loss of control over the business

The connection

It is not difficult to see the connection between all of these problems.  However, what is perhaps not apparent from the list is that each of these operational difficulties is in fact a symptom of a much larger problem which emanates from the way in which the objectives of a firm are set.

The meaningfulness, hence the eventual effectiveness, of any objective, is heavily dependent on the quality of the informational inputs about the business environment.

Objec­tives need to be realistic 

However, objec­tives also need to be realistic, and to be realistic, they have to be closely related to the firm’s particular capabilities in the form of its assets, competences and reputation that have evolved over a number of years.

The objective-setting process of a business, then, is central to its effectiveness.

Tt is inadequacies in the objective-setting process which lie at the heart of many of the problems of companies.  Since companies are based on the existence of markets, and since a company’s sole means of making profit is to find and maintain profitable markets, then clearly setting objectives in respect of these markets is a key business function.

If the process by which this key function is performed is inadequate in relation to the differing organisational settings in which it takes place, it fol­lows that operational efficiency will be adversely affected.

Some kind of appropriate system has to be used to enable meaningful and realistic management objectives to be set.  A frequent complaint is the preoccupation with short-term thinking and an almost total lack of what has been referred to as ‘strategic thinking’.  Another com­plaint is that plans consist largely of numbers, which are difficult to evaluate in any meaning­ful way, since they do not highlight and quantify opportunities, emphasise key issues, show the company’s position clearly in its markets, or delineate the means of achieving the sales forecasts.  Indeed, very often the actual numbers that are written down bear little relation­ship to any of these things.

 

Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known business consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects.  He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Who Are You Targeting? Really?

To achieve true segment focus, manangers must be able to identify and define the markets they plan to market to/with.  To hone in on the segments to identify the ones that best fit their business/marketing strategy.

To do that, you must be able to answer a series of key questions, including:

  • Who are the current customers that make up your market?
  • Who are the future customers in that market that align with your product offering?
  • Do you want more customers like them and are those customers profitable?
  • What are the distinct segments in the market and how big is each segment (i.e., number of prospects, market value, and revenue expectation)?
  • What is the growth rate of each segment and how much will it cost you to target each one?
  • What are the major trends in each segment that make it attractive?
  • Which characteristics (company size, revenue size, IT budget size, geographic location, business model, current needs or pain points) define the buyers in each segment and how do those characteristics align with your product offering and value proposition?
  • Why (based on the criteria above) is a particular segment a good fit for your business?

Answering those questions should help you boil down your target market to the customer segments that make the most sense for you to target.

Diffusing Traditional Buyer-Seller Roles

When customers have been brought into your business as residents in your sales database and when you have penetrated their businesses in depth, breadth, and height, the traditional distinctions between buyer and seller will become diffused.  Their basis, which lies in the absence of mutual objectives, will have disappeared.  Win-lose sales strategies will have no place.  Because your customers must win if you are going to have a growing market, and because you must win if your customers are going to have a growing improvement in their profits, Your combined need for win-win relations will foster a new union in your roles.

The line between selling and buying will grey out.  The zone where customer interests conflict with your interests will thin down.  Your need to overcome them will be converted to a need to come over to their way of assigning priorities to their problems, defining the kinds of solutions they can most readily accept, and together with them, implementing the solutions inside their businesses.

You will still have to compete to serve them.  But once accepted, you will become their partners in profit.  Your common objectives will be identified in your penetration plans; both of you will have signed off on them.  The strategies will be known to both of you and approved by your customers so that they can work together with you to achieve shared objectives.

In such a scenario, which is commonplace in Consultative Selling relationships, who is buyer and who is seller-and what difference does it make?  Your role will be that of a customer extender, acting as an extension of your customer’s own people and their capabilities to solve their problems.  Thus you can become positioned as a true adder of value.  Your contribution is perceptible; it is also quantifiable.

The essence of role blending is your combined ability to achieve the dollar objectives of your account penetration plan.  This is your pivot point in moving away from vending toward consultation.  If you fail, you fall back to being a vendor.  You separate out of the partnership and become a supplier once again, perceived as having your own self-serving objectives that are bound to be inconsistent with-indeed, they are adversarial to-the needs of your customers.

Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects.  He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Why Strategic Planning (by itself) Does Not Work

Dr Brian Monger

Most managers labour under a myriad of short-term pressures. Daily schedules are full to the bursting point; crises of various magnitudes have to be handled; customers demand action; fires must be fought. In some companies, daily (even hourly) fluctuations in stock prices are monitored closely, and action taken accordingly. Not surprisingly, as much as nine-tenths of a typical organisation’s energy is devoted to managing day-to-day operations. As more than one manager has ruefully observed, “If the organisation don’t get through this month, a six month plan isn’t going to be useful”. Because of their natural tendency to focus on the short term, managers must often be forced to pay attention to the long run if it is not to be lost in the shuffle.

Strategic planning can be a shallow exercise. It is all too usual for a slick report with beautiful graphics to be produced, filed, and forgotten. This phenomenon seems to be especially common when the plan was drawn up by the strategic planning department or (even worse) when an outside consulting group has done most of the work. There are important roles for consultants and staff planning specialists in the strategic planning process. Their specialised skills can be extremely useful in structuring the process and obtaining and analysing critical data. They often serve as highly effective catalysts, in effect, forcing the organisation to expand its horizons beyond the day-to-day. But it is bad policy to have such specialists take the lead in developing the strategy or writing the plan. While many managers would be delighted to have them do so an organisation that succumbs to this temptation would almost certainly be better off without a plan.

Unless the managers who are to be responsible for implementing the plan have been deeply involved in its preparation, it is highly unlikely that the plan will have significant impact. Successful implementation of strategy requires shared understanding of the information driving the firm’s business, as well as consensus concerning the organisation’s mission, goals, key programs, and resource allocations.

Even when managers are involved in the planning process, however, the resulting plans and tactics may be inconsistent with the organisation’s measurement processes and/or incentive structures. In the newspaper industry, for example, it is common for strategic plans to call for increases in circulation and readership, but for bonuses to be paid almost solely on the basis of annual profits. Since increasing circulation generally requires marketing investment that is unlikely to pay off until subsequent years, it is not surprising that many newspaper publishers put far less emphasis on building circulation than is called for in their strategic plans.

Managers must be able and willing to carry out the actions called for in their strategic plan, or it simply will not happen. If they feel threatened by the planning process (e.g., if it requires that their organisational unit be compared with “best of breed” or if it seems likely to lead to a loss of resources), they are likely to deliberately impede it. For the strategic planning process to be effective, managers at all levels must “buy into” the plan. Operational managers (salespeople, brand managers, market research managers), middle managers (group brand managers, sales managers, advertising directors), and top managers (the senior managers responsible for marketing, R&D, and manufacturing,  and even the chief operating officer and chief executive officer or managing director) must all understand the planning process fully, feel they have had a real opportunity to contribute to the plan, and agree, at least in broad outline, with its conclusions.

Another major impediment to effective strategic planning is the lack of sufficient data. In these circumstances, it is necessary to decide whether to use those data that are available, and supplement them with managerial judgment, or to operate without strategic direction. The organisation feel it is better to identify critical information and success factors, obtain the best information available, and formulate at least a draft strategic plan. One outcome of this process is likely to be a clearer recognition of what additional data are required and, hopefully, a plan to acquire such data. Clearly, timely monitoring, control, and revision are especially important when implementing a strategy developed with less than adequate data.

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And the MAANZ website (home of the worlds largest marketing/business glossary http://www.marketing.org.au

Also the MAANZ Slideshare site – http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger

Locating Products in Their Life Cycles

The easiest way to locate a Product (including services) in its life cycle is to study its performance, competitive history, and current position and match this information with the characteristics of a particular stage of the life cycle.

Analysis of past performance of the product will include:

1. Examination of sales-growth progression since introduction.

2. Any design problems and technical bugs which need to be sorted out.

3. Sales and profit history of allied products (those similar in general character or function as well as those directly competitive).

4. Number of years the product has been on the market.

5. Casualty history of similar products in the past.

The review of competition will focus on:

1. Profit history

2. Ease of entry (with which other firms can get into the business)

3. Extent of initial investment needed to enter business

4. Number of competitors and their strengths

5. Number of competitors which left the industry

6. Life cycle of the industry

7. Critical success factors in the business.

Additionally, current perspectives may be reviewed to gauge whether sales are on the upswing, have leveled out for the last couple of years, or are heading down; whether any competitive products are moving up to replace the product under consideration; whether customers are becoming demanding vis-a-vis price, service, or special features; whether additional sales efforts are necessary to keep the sales going up; and whether it is harder to sign up dealers and distributors.

The above information on the product may be related to the characteristics of the different stages of the product life cycle as discussed above; the PLC stage with which the product perspectives match will indicate the position of the product in its life cycle. Needless to say, the whole process is highly qualitative in nature, and managerial intuition and judgment will bear heavily on the final placement of the product in its life cycle.

Listed below are steps which may be followed to position a product in its life cycle:

1. Develop historical trend information for a period of three to five years (longer for some products). Data included will be unit and dollar sales, profit margins, total profit contribution, return on invested capital, market share, and prices.

2. Check recent trends in the number and nature of competitors; number and market-share rankings of competing products, and their quality and performance advantages; shifts in distribution channels; and relative advantages enjoyed by products in each channel.

3. Analyse development in short-term competitive tactics such as competitors’ recent announcements of new products or plans for expanding production capacity.

4. Obtain (or update) historical information on the life cycles of similar or related products.

5. Project sales for the product over the next three to five years, based on all the information gathered, and estimate an incremental profit ratio for the product during each of these years (the ratio of total direct costs – manufacturing, advertising, product development, sales, distribution, etc. – to pretax profits).

Expressed as a ratio – e.g., 4.8 to 1 or 6.3 to 1 – this measures the number of dollars required to generate each additional dollar of profit. The ratio typically improves (becomes lower) as the product enters its growth period; begins to deteriorate (rise) as the product approaches maturity; and climbs more sharply as it reaches obsolescence.

6. Estimate the number of profitable years remaining in the product’s life cycle and – based on all the information at hand – fix the product’s position on its life-cycle curve

 

Like this short article?  Please comment.  And have a look at other articles  in our sister blog http://smartamarketing.wordpress and checkout the smartamarketing posts on SlideShare.

7 Simple Rules for an Effective Marketing Program

By Emily Coleman

Marketing seems to be getting more and more complicated.  There is an ever-expanding universe of ways to try to reach out to prospects.  Segmenting the marketplace now includes categorization by means of communication on top of the traditional demographic profiles.  Marketing specialties are multiplying.

What’s an entrepreneur or small- to medium-sized business to do?  There aren’t limitless funds to hire experts, buy “big data,” do finely honed customized market research, etc.

Over the years, it has become clear to me that the best marketing – the marketing that actually contributes to sales and revenue growth – follows the KISS principle:

  1. Place your value proposition – why people should buy from you – in the context of your marketplace.

2.  Make your message clear, concise, and memorable.  If you have a slogan, make it mean something.

3.  Worry less about engagement and more about showing how your company/product/service will bring value to your prospect.  Engagement will follow.

  1. Be responsive.  And be timely with your response.

5.  Align all your outreach (blogs, tweets, posts, white papers, advertising, and content marketing in general) so that your central message is consistent and your expertise shines through.

6.  Your objective is to have your company/products/services noticed.  Don’t worry about having to follow the commonly accepted wisdom on how to do it.

7.  Never forget that the sole purpose of marketing is to increase sales, revenues, and market share.  Measure each initiative against that goal.

If you internalize and use these basic rules as your marketing guide, you can harness your resources, avoid unnecessary expenditures, and have measurable results.

 

About Emily R. Coleman

Dr. Emily R. Coleman is President of Competitive Advantage Marketing, Inc, a firm that specializes helping companies expand their marketing reach and revenue streams through strategy and implementation. Dr. Coleman has more than 30 years of hands-on executive management experience working with companies, from Fortune 100 firms to entrepreneurial enterprises. Dr. Coleman’s expertise extends from the integration of corporate-wide marketing communication and operations to the development and implementation of strategy into product development and branding. Ask how Dr. Coleman can help your company. She can be reached at 201-836-9070 or at ecoleman@colemanmgt.com

Strategy – Mission, Vision and Core Values

Organisational Direction

Strategy should begin with a clear concept and vision of what business the organisation is in and what path its development should take.

The mission statement specifies what activities the organisation as a whole intends to pursue now and in the future; it says something about what kind of organisation it is now and is to become and, by omission, what it is not to do and not to become. It depicts an organisation’s character, identity, and scope of activities.

The mission statement communicates the firm’s core ideology and visionary goals.

Vision Statements are often seen as different to Mission statements, although they can in fact be combined.  Vision Statements should be more immediate and inspirational.  The vision statement expresses the desired destination of the organisation within a certain time-frame.

Mission and Vision statements from most organisations are usually run of the mill/ordinary .  They lack inspiration and a real understanding of what is needed.  They tend to make obvious statements about “putting customers first, … valuing employees;  making profits”;  etc.

Good Mission and Vision Statements are meant not only to provide direction, but should also be inspirational to those who follow them.

Core Values – Corporate values statements

Core values reflect the deeply held values of the organisation and are independent of the current management fads.

Similar to Mission and Vision Statements, Corporate Values Statements provide:

  • a vision for your future;
  • a mission that defines what you are doing;
  • values that shape your actions;
  • strategies that zero in on your key success approaches; and
  • goals and action plans to guide your daily, weekly and monthly actions.
Examples of values that some firms have chosen to be in their core:
  • excellent customer service
  • pioneering technology
  • creativity
  • integrity
  • social responsibility

Marketing Planning as a Continuous Process

Dr. Brian Monger

Although most books on marketing planning portray the process as a series of discrete, straightforward steps, the process is, in fact, a continuous interplay of assumptions, objectives, strategies, programs and budgets, with a constant movement backwards and forwards, from the general to the specific, and with some stages occurring concurrently rather than consecutively.”  That is, it’s not possible to start at one point and proceed step by step to the end.  As you progress, you will need to go back and forth adding and adjusting elements.

Planning is, or should be, a continuous activity of marketing management, rather than an irregular act.  Doing a plan once a year and never reviewing and adjusting it is not realistic or practical.

Planning is the principle activity of a manager.  Implementation – “doing the work” – is another job.  Management planning has real worth.  Just doing things, working hard (sweat equity) is not an effective or efficient use of resources.  Planning aims at giving better returns on invested resources.

Every organisation is the scene of continuous decision-making and problem-solving, but this should not be confused with marketing planning and control.  The latter is a separate and higher-order activity which often rewards the organisation with improved sales and profit.

Expressed in its simplest form, if the purpose of planning is to answer three central questions:

  • Where is the organisation now? (Marketing Audit)
  • Where does the organisation want to go? (Goals and Objectives and Opportunity Analyses)
  • How should the organisation organise its resources to get there? (Plan – Strategy and Tactics)

Prioritising in Planning

Dr. Brian Monger

Prioritising skills are the ability to see which tasks are more important at any moment and to give those tasks more attention, energy, and time. The focus is on what is important at the expense of lower value activities.

Prioritising is about making choices and decisions of what to do first. To prioritise effectively there is a need to recognise what is important, as well as to see the difference between urgent and important.

An organisation’s implementation capabilities may be:

  • time specific: it may gain or lose the competencies needed for execution over time, so implementation capabilities change;
  • culture specific: no two organisations using similar marketing strategies are going to implement them the same way – because they are culturally different;
  • partially capable: an organisation may be well equipped to undertake certain functions needed for effective implementation, but not all the necessary functions;
  • latent: an organisation may have the technical and human resources required but not the ability to use those resources through lack of experience;
  • internally inconsistent: some parts of an organisation may be better equipped to execute a strategy than others;
  • person specific: implementation capabilities may rely on specific managers.
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