Wow, things are changing fast; like that 2020 marketing plan you spent all that time creating. I wrote a best-selling book that can help you adjust your plan fast. It’s called “The CEO’s Guide to Marketing; The Book Every Marketer Should Read Before Their Boss Does.” It’s based on a six-step process called Strategically Aimed Marketing and it’s the most practical marketing book you will ever read. Take a quick glance at what I have to say about each of the six steps:
STEP 1: Being a competent marketer. It’s almost a given that you could quiz your team on the 31 basic terms in this book and they’d fail miserably. In a booming economy, mediocre marketing will bring in sales. But mediocre doesn’t cut it when everyone’s nervous and spending less. Step 1 gets teams up to speed on basic marketing concepts fast.
STEP 2: Code sheets. I’m always surprised by how much discussion even well-established companies still have about what their messaging should be. Often this is abdicated to low-level writers and designers. This is no time for anyone but your high-level team to clearly state what your product’s primary value points are and assure marketing sticks to those high-value messages. Step 2 will codify your messages by filling out what I call code sheets. Your whole team should have access to these.
STEP 3: Evaluate your promotional mix and rebalance it. This step will walk you through how to shift your money to the promotional mix channels that will give you the most bang for the buck. Do you think your team has this handled? Ask them to name the promotional mix channels: publicity, ads, social media, website and personal selling. Most can’t even do that.
STEP 4: Schedule your promotions. Most companies are strong on creativity and weak on churning out promotions like an assembly line. Forty years ago, I was the marketing manager for a good sized company that was going through a serious slump in business. The owner came to me worried. I told him that every time he wrote a personal letter to our prospects, sales increased. I suggested he double or triple the number of letters he wrote. Sometimes readjusting is obvious. You simply need to do it. I meet him for dinner every couple years and he never fails to mention how that helped save his bacon. It’s not fun to spend money right now, but if you heavy-up in the right places it can make a big difference.
STEP 5: Control template. The creative process is very subjective. A control template is critical to giving your creative staff clear direction. It’s always been my position that if you let creative people guide you, they will ruin you. However if you guide them, they will make you. They are amazing people but just like thoroughbred horses, you don’t let them run wild.
STEP 6: Engage your creative team. You want to have your creative folks layer their thinking over steps 1-5. If your ducks are in a row, if you have followed the Strategically Aimed Marketing process in my book and are giving clear direction, your creative people can do remarkable things.
I’m 64. I’ve run a successful agency through good economies and bad. We get in the kitchens of companies across the U.S. and the world. I’ve taken the best of what I know and distilled it in this book. Both clients and our internal staff love the SAM 6 system because it gives them a reliable process to follow. When I see the campaigns they layer over this process for our clients, it literally gives me goosebumps. It’s not so much the process, it’s the power the process unleashes. It’s just so cool to know that absolutely every marketing piece we create is on point every single time. It’s just amazing.
You’ve got to be on point and give clear direction
There’s no room for hoping your web designer and content writers understand why someone should want to buy your product. If you have a solid marketing process, you can ramp up fast and keep things moving. Amazon delivers overnight and The CEO’s Guide to Marketing can be read in about an hour. It’s a quick way to write an effective marketing plan and get a process that you can scale. It will help everyone on your team stay on point, hence the name: Strategically Aimed Marketing. You should order a copy right now while you are thinking about it. The risk isn’t the few bucks the book costs, the risk is not having a copy.
P.S. This blog, as are all of our promotions, was written into the control template that is discussed in step 5 of my book. We simply strip away the template when we send out the promotion. I thought you might like to see what this letter looked like when it was in the control template so I’m including it below. Notice that in the template the letter starts out Dear Kevin, Pam, Larry and Carol. These names represent specific submarkets we developed in step 2. Larry and Carol represent business owners while the names Kevin and Pam represent high-level marketing professionals. I like to have these personas of who I’m writing to in mind as work on my letters. You can see that the control template contains lots of information that has been decided in advance and directs us on point as we create our promotions.
I think you’ll like The CEOs Guide to Marketing. At the very least you should be able to pick up a few good nuggets you can put to work.