Marketing plans: 10 TIPS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
Communication World, Oct-Nov, 2000 by Linda Pophal
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Trying to sell a product or service without a plan is like planning a vacation without a map. You may eventually get where you wanted to go, but it will take longer and cost more than it should.
While the development of a marketing plan can be a time-consuming, intense and expensive process, it doesn't have to be. Even the smallest company with the most modest budget can develop a plan that provides sufficient information and direction to maximize marketing efforts.
Following is a 10-step process to developing a marketing plan that will provide you with the direction you need.
1. Have a champion from as high in the organization as possible --preferably your CEO.
2. Involve a broad cross-section of people from the organization in the process.
3. Select a skilled facilitator to lead the process.
- You will need someone to facilitate your planning sessions. It is not critical that the facilitator have a marketing background (as long as you do), but it is critical that the facilitator be skilled in managing group dynamics and facilitating discussions among numerous participants who often have conflicting opinions and goals. You may be able to fill this role yourself. If not, consider whether there are others in the organization who have strong facilitation skills and would be willing to participate in the process. Or you may choose to outsource this role -- or perhaps the development of the entire plan -- to an experienced consultant.
4. Use an organized approach to planning.
5. Assign responsibility for accomplishing the plan.
6. Keep employees and administration informed throughout the process.
7. Expect, and be prepared, to respond to negative feedback.
8. Make it measurable -- and provide feedback (good and bad).
- Your marketing plan should build in methods for measuring effectiveness in both qualitative and quantitative ways.
9. Review and modify your plan regularly.
- A marketing plan is a living document. In the rapidly changing environment within which we all operate, it is unrealistic to expect that your plan will remain unchanged and that strategies and tactics developed today will still be applicable several months -- or years -- from now.
10 Have fun with it!
- Marketing is an exciting process and one that lends itself to creativity, enthusiasm and innovation. Don't hinder the creative energies of your marketing committee by developing a process that is too bureaucratic or formalized. Have fun with the process. Be willing to hear and consider ideas that may be outside the box, and take time to celebrate your successes.
Linda Pophal, ABC, is director of corporate communication, Luther Midelfort-Mayo Health System, Eau Claire, Wis.
COPYRIGHT 2000 International Association of Business Communicators
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