This is it, the last of the Baker Marketing “Marketing Summer School”.
My goal in this and the last nine articles has been to prompt you and provide you with information and a structured approach to giving consideration to the most important planning and decision making areas of your marketing strategy, namely:
- Part 1 – An overview of your Marketing Strategy
- Part 2 – Your Primary and Secondary Target Markets
- Part 3 – Your Desired Brand Positioning
- Part 4 – Your Sales Partners and Sales Influencers
- Part 5 – Product and Service Priorities
- Part 6 – Key Communication Messages
- Part 7 – The Company Vision Timetable
- Part 8 – Promotions Planning
- Part 9 – Marketing Action Plans
- Part 10 – Bringing it all Together
Strategic Marketing – Strategy then Strategic Implementation
In my first Marketing Summer School article I mentioned that when working with our clients and business operators I find a useful way of understanding the significance of Strategic Marketing is to break it down into two stages, namely:
1st Stage – Strategy Development
This is where we spend time mapping out your overall plan of attack
(i.e. developing your marketing strategy)
2nd Stage – Strategic Implementation
This is where you spend even more time implementing the plan of attack (i.e. implementing your marketing strategy)
Strategic Marketing in Action – Bringing it all Together
This article is about combining your marketing strategy with the ongoing implementation side of things, that is, the implementation of your plans and decisions defined in your marketing strategy.
Bringing it all together – Company-wide Implementation
I have summarised below what I consider to be the most important steps to bringing together your total business and marketing resources, namely:
- Complete the Plan
- Your Company-wide Plan for Delighting Customers
- Provide Marketing Leadership
- Monitor the Performance and Outcomes
- Strategic Marketing Implementation
Bring all of your planning and preparation together and ‘Making it Happen’ for each business operator who may be reading this series of articles will always require different variations of these steps.
However, I hope that the steps that I map out in this article provide you with a structured approach for planning for successful implementation. Alternatively it may provide you with a structured approach for determining why your current approach to implementation is not generating the outcomes that you desire.
Key Steps for Company-wide Implementation
Step 1 – Complete the Plan
Double check that you have completed the Strategic Planning Process
One of the best ways of getting your marketing off to a good start is ensure that you have actually completed your planning process, including:
- Your Key Marketing Planning and Decision Making Areas
- Your Detailed Marketing Action Plans
- Consideration to your General Business Planning requirements
Getting things Right and Avoiding Mistakes
The completion of the planning process increases your chances of getting things right and of heading of in the right direction and implementing initiatives that will lead to achieving your ultimate goals.
Completing the planning process also increases your chances of avoiding the various mistakes and pitfalls that can cost you money and delay or stunt your progress.
Failure to Close-Out
Over the years I have found that many business operators progress their planning significantly but often do not actually finalise their planning.
They invest significantly in their marketing planning and preparation process and almost complete and close out on their plans. However, they will often leave certain aspects unfinished creating the situation where their marketing plan is still open (e.g. Marketing Action Plans or some element of information collection or research etc.).
I am not suggesting that a marketing plan should be completed and then locked in stone. This is not effective either, as a marketing plan requires ongoing review, updating and modification/correcting to ensure that the business is successful.
However, where a marketing plan is not brought to a stage of completion prior to implementation then it can lead to some less than positive outcomes.
Paralysis due to lack of Closure
Failure to complete the marketing planning process can leave some of the final decisions or issues unresolved (this is often the case with complex or difficult to resolve marketing issues and/or decisions).
A partially completed planning process sometimes serves to create a sort of paralysis as specific initiatives cannot be implemented due to this lack of final decision making.
Failure to Commit
In other cases the business operators press on and start their business or continue their business without have closed out on their marketing plan.
This can often create a feeling of implementation hesitation or a lack of confidence or lack of commitment to the plan. This is obviously not a good place to be.
Completing your marketing planning process in the first instance can help to avoid the above maladies.
Step 2 – Your Company-wide Plan for Delighting Customers – Organise the Business Basics to Satisfy Customers
Before you can successfully implement your marketing strategies you need to put some basics in place.
Company-wide Business Strategies and Systems
It is very difficult to be successful in implementing your marketing strategies if the rest of your business does not support the marketing efforts.
By the ‘rest’ of your business I am referring to your key business functions such as:
- Operations and/or Production
- Physical Distribution and/or Logistics
- Human Resource Management
- Innovation and/or Research
- Other key functions
In summary, you need all of the different functions (including Marketing) within your business to play their role effectively and to optimise the positive impact on the customer – to Satisfy the Needs, Wants and Desires of the Customer
Sometimes business operators forget the fact that the supreme reason that their business exists is to satisfy the needs and desires of their customers.
Your Company-wide Plan for Delighting Customers
As you would expect, the topic of Company-wide Business Strategies and Systems is one of significance and not one that I can address within the parameters of this article.
However, I urge you to review the other key functions within your business and ensure that you have strategies and plans in place to ensure that they play their roles effectively to help ensure your marketing strategies are successful and that your customers are delighted.
Step 3 – Provide Marketing Leadership
Be your own Company-wide Brand Champion
Surprising as it may sound, one of the keys to successful marketing is to actually implement your planned marketing activities.
I see many business operators who complete their marketing strategy development and planning process but who then fail to ‘stick’ to the plan.
They often let themselves get distracted by the intoxicating allure of new and exciting ideas or initiatives.
The Company-wide Brand Champion
So here’s an idea, please consider taking a leadership role when it comes to your marketing and be your own company-wide brand champion.
First – This will firstly entail you ensuring that your planned marketing initiatives are actually implemented.
Next – Next you will need to exercise some discipline when it comes to new and potentially distracting options (i.e. new tools, discounted advertising packages and/or promotions you just can’t afford to not be a part of!!).
In other words, you will need to adopt a disciplined approach to your marketing and do your best to focus on implementing the plans and initiatives that are defined in your strategic planning process. This is unless you identify good reason to stop and revisit some of your earlier decisions (This is different to taking a knee-jerk response to a distraction).
Always – Lastly and continuously, you need to ensure that the whole of your business and respective business functions reinforce your desired marketing messages (i.e. Desired Brand Positioning) and support and/or reinforce your marketing efforts.
This will require you to pay attention to company-wide issues such as:
- Quality assurance
- Choice of suppliers and treatment of suppliers
- Customer grievance resolution
- Approach to debtor follow up
- Standard and visual impression of facilities
- Staff management, motivation and retention
- Staff training, uniforms and professionalism
- Inventory Management, Production capacity and financial resources
- And ….much, much more
In summary, your role as Brand Champion is to ensure that the integrity of your brand is protected across your entire business and to maximise the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives by ensuring that the rest of the business supports and reinforces these activities.
Step 4 – Monitor the Performance and Outcomes
Keep your Finger on your Marketing Pulse
What happens if we complete our strategic marketing planning process, press ‘start’ or ‘implement’ and just sit back?
a) Everything falls perfectly into place, you generate obscene amounts of sales and profits, and you purchase large stakes in Google, Walmart and Coca-Cola (i.e. you diversify) and then you retire to the Bahamas.
b) Numerous and sometimes exciting things can happen.
c) Unfortunately, not always the disciplined and effective implementation of defined marketing plans and initiatives.
d) All of the above.
Monitor and Control the performance and outcomes of your marketing implementation and keep your finger on your Marketing Pulse.
To ensure that your marketing is implemented as per the plan you will need to implement some systems for regular and routine monitoring and review.
These systems can include:
- Regular (i.e. Quarterly/six-monthly) marketing strategy review process
- Monthly Marketing and/or Work-In-Progress Meetings
- Marketing reporting systems
- Sales reporting systems
- Brand and/or Marketing Audits
- Mystery shopping of competitor marketing and pricing activity
- Mystery shopping of your own marketing and pricing activity
- Regular customer research and surveys
- Other routine reporting and data capture systems and disciplines
Step 5 – Strategic Marketing Implementation
Implementing and Correcting your Company-wide Marketing as Required
Of course we need to implement. Strategic Marketing requires both Strategy Development and Strategic Implementation.
To ensure a disciplined approach to actually implementing that Strategy it is useful to monitor and measure the marketing and sales activities and outcomes.
Step 4 above highlights a number of steps that you can take to monitor and measure your marketing and sales activities.
Armed with the results of your monitoring and measurement you are then in a position to determine the following:
- Are you actually implementing the marketing and sales activity that you have defined in your strategy, plan and/or action plans
- Are you achieving the desired outcomes in terms of Sales, Profits and Brand Building from the marketing and sales activity that you are implementing
Failure to Implement
If the answer to A) is that you are not actually implementing your planned marketing and sales activity then this communicates that you have possibly:
- Failed to close-out and implement the plan in the first place
- Allowed yourself to be distracted from your original plan (remember those alluring and potentially intoxicating distractions mentioned above)
- Had good reason to make the decision to deviate from your original plan
Whatever the reason for failure to implement you need to review the original plan and make a decision regarding your confidence in the plan and either implement as originally planned or revise the plan.
Failure to Achieve Desired Outcomes
If the answer to A) is that you are implementing the defined plan but the answer to B) is that you are not achieving the desired outcomes then there is a need to review the original plan.
Failure to achieve desired outcomes can be due to numerous factors and one of the first things to establish is whether or not marketing and sales initiatives have been implemented properly and in a manner that does justice to the original plan.
If marketing and sales initiative have been initiated but are not achieving the desired results then there is a definite need to revisit the plan.
Revisiting the plan requires first reviewing the Marketing Action Plans that details the marketing tools and initiatives that have been selected in your:
- Brand Marketing Action Plan
- Digital and/or Traditional Traffic Generation Action Plan
- Sales Action Plan
If this is the case then I recommend reviewing the Baker Marketing “Marketing Summer School” Parts 8 and 9.
If the reason for not achieving desired outcomes appears more ‘deep-rooted’ in strategic decisions then there will be a need to review your key strategic planning and decision making areas, namely your:
- Choice of Primary and Secondary Target Market Segment
- Desired Brand Positioning criteria
- Selection of Sales Partners and Sales Influencers
- Product and Service assortment mix
- Key Communication Messages
- Overall Marketing Strategy
If this is the case then I recommend reviewing the Baker Marketing “Marketing Summer School” Parts 1 to 7.
Sales, Profits and Increased Brand Value
I have enjoyed preparing and sharing this and the last nine Marketing Summer School articles with you.
My hope is that you have found this information to be of interest and more importantly to be of use to you in planning and implementing your marketing and sales initiatives.
The approach that I strive to take when working with individual clients and business operators is to keep the focus of your marketing activity directed at achieving progress towards three key goals, namely:
- Increasing your Sales
- Increasing your Profits
- Improving the level of Systemisation of your Marketing function
- Building you Brands Awareness levels and associated Brand Value
The steps that I have outlined in the various Baker Marketing “Marketing Summer School” articles are designed with the intention of helping you take a planned and structured approach towards improving your outcomes regarding the above three key goals.
Contact Baker Marketing for Marketing Assistance
If you require any assistance within the area of Marketing please feel free to contact me directly or Josie Hodge at Baker Marketing and our team will do our best to help you:
Patrick Baker, Managing Director
- Ph. +61 8 8352 3091
- Mob. +61 419 806 671
Josie Hodge, Marketing Services Supervisor
- Ph. +61 8 8352 3091
- Mob. +61 422 900 854
In the meantime, I wish you the best for your marketing and sales outcomes for the remainder of this financial year and beyond.