Lately I have been reviewing marketing plans for a few friends. It had been a long time since I thought about specific marketing project plans.
It still amazes me how many people approach this process by just populating a spreadsheet with a menu of things which they are normally expected to produce as a marketer. You know – the white paper, the seminar, the web updates, the direct mail campaign, the brochure, the corporate pitch update, the PR road trip, the competitive update, the sales training, etc.
Too seldom do you see people approach the process from a more goal-driven point of view. Whether you are ready to launch a new product, a new company or a product upgrade you got to populate your project list based on answers to the following questions:
- What story are you going to tell (i.e., what’s your messaging)?
- Who will you be telling the story to (i.e., who are your target buyers, your target users)?
- Who else is likely to re-tell your story (it’s unlikely that you can succeed by being the only one out there telling the story)?
- What other noise is out there (i.e., who else is competing for the attention of your prospects)?
Answering those questions is an iterative process, as changing the answer to one may affect the others. But it is based on the answers to those questions that you then decide on the project plan – how to distribute the message (maybe a seminar is not the right place), who you target your programs to (maybe its not a good idea to do a direct mail), what level of competitive analysis you need to do, etc.