Hire your marketing plan for the right job

It’s the start of the year and for many businesses, a time to refocus teams on longer term goals.  Whether you’re a CEO, Marketing Director or Brand Consultant it’s a great time of year to focus or refocus teams on your common goals.  Which is the job your marketing plan is hired to do.

Depending on your size and stage of business, you may have spent Q4 building your 2018 marketing plan and your team is now executing that. Or, if Q4 was a busy time for hitting annual targets and closing contracts, you may be sitting down to build your plan now.

With a clear value proposition and focused purpose for your business, it’s a whole lot easier to plan because you have something other than numbers to help you focus.  Don’t get me wrong – the numbers are important – but they’re rarely the motivator for people to show up and give their all for your business.  I’ve always loved Jim Collins’ Hedgehog concept in Good to Great, and businesses that are built to last are brave enough to choose projects and clients only in line with their focused strategy and a clear purpose.

To start my new year, I thought I’d share five of my favourite questions to ask before building your marketing plan:

  1. WHY do we exist? What’s our purpose?
  2. WHO do we serve? Who don’t we serve?
  3. WHAT do we do for them? What’s the problem we solve for them?
  4. HOW do we do that? What’s different or better about the way we do?
  5. IS there anything we’re doing or planning that doesn’t fit with that? Is it really worth taking everyone off focus?  Is it a sign that our why, who and what has changed – or a sign that we haven’t been clear enough with the team on who we really are?

Focusing first on these fundamentals before jumping into finding exciting ways to reach people is never a waste of time.  My biggest marketing giggle of 2017 was at the Festival of Marketing when someone said: “snapchat is not a strategy”.  Very true.  I’d argue: neither is growth.  Growth is the result of a successful strategy based on having a clear focus.

Make sure your focus is clear for 2018 and let your marketing plan do the job it was hired for.

Your teams and your customers will thank you.