Your Marketing Planning Journey So Far
Your Baker Marketing “Marketing Summer School” journey has asked you to give consideration to the following important components of your marketing strategy:
- 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
This week’s step of the journey is:
Part 7 – The Company Vision Timetable – Setting the Big Goals
What else is in store?
Our next steps in the Marketing Summer School will give consideration to the following marketing implementation decision areas:
- Part 8 – Promotions Planning – Selecting the most powerful marketing tools
- Part 9 – Marketing Action Plans – Your Branding, Digital and Sales Tools
- Part 10 – Bringing it all together – Company-wide implementation, measurement and control systems
What is the Company Vision Timetable?
The Company Vision Timetable is an opportunity to review company growth objectives as a whole and schedule key milestone objectives and long-term goals at a top-line level across all business functions.
Completing your Company Vision Timetable
I have summarised below what I consider to be the most logical approach to developing your company vision timetable, namely:
- Review your Strategic Marketing Decisions
- Define key phases of your sales and marketing growth plan
- Define your long-term annual turnover objectives
- Define major outcomes required for all business functions
- Summarise key milestone objectives in a visual format
The approach taken with each of these steps will vary depending on the nature of your business and most importantly your current stage of growth and development combined with your long-term aspirations.
Key Steps in Completing your Company Vision Timetable
Step 1 – Review your Strategic Marketing Decisions
Double-checking the Feasibility of your Growth Strategy
Step 1 is about re-visiting the key strategic marketing decisions and plans that you have mapped out so far.
The process of reviewing your marketing decisions may assist with ensuring the completeness of certain areas where information may have been missing or on which consensus was not possible at the time. After a bit of breathing space you may find that all parties can agree where perhaps they were unable to agree earlier.
An important component of Step 1 is to double-check the appropriateness and feasibility of the decisions and plans that have been defined.
You may find it useful to consider the following:
- Has appropriate research been completed and information collected to enable informed decision making?
- Are the Target Markets selected attractive enough to justify focussing the sales and marketing resources of your business?
- Is it feasible that your business will be able to attract and convert customers within the defined Target Markets?
- Is the Desired Brand Positioning that you have defined appropriate for the selected Target Markets and is it feasible for you to convey this Desired Brand Positioning to customers?
- Are your other marketing and sales decisions appropriate and feasible?
Naturally, if you answered ‘No’ to any of the above it will pay for you to give further and more in-depth consideration to the issues of concern.
Step 2 – Define key phases of your Sales and Marketing growth plan
Scheduling the major steps for growth
Step 2 entails the mapping out and scheduling of key sales and marketing activities and expected outcomes to provide for growth.
When consulting to clients on an individual basis I have noticed that there is a tendency to schedule all activities for the first period of time. This is most often unrealistic as most business owner and operators do not have the time, headspace or financial resources to implement a multitude of sales and marketing activities within the same 6 to 12 month period.
Scheduling the major steps for growth involves consideration of:
- The resources (primarily time and money) available
- The specific sales and marketing implementation activities that will best assist with achieving growth objectives
- The optimum timing for implementation (e.g. market or strategic timing issues)
- The availability of key individuals that are required for implementation of the sales and marketing activities
- The sequence of sales and marketing activities or most appropriate order of implementation
- The expected outcomes of the key phases of sales and marketing activities and the anticipated timing of these outcomes
- Other factors that influence the timing of implementation of sales and marketing activities
Step 3 – Define your Long-term annual turnover objectives
Aligning your Sales Targets with your Growth Strategy
Step 3 involves the definition of sales turnover targets and the scheduling of these targets over a 3 to 5 year planning period.
There are different approaches to completing this stage and the following are some key issues to consider:
- Timing of the implementation of key sales and marketing activities/phases
- Match the scheduling of sales and marketing implementation phases with the timing of expected sales impact
- Define the long-term sales goals and aspirations of the business
- Double-check the feasibility of the long-term goals against the current status or sales level and the level of sales and marketing activities being implemented
- Double-check the feasibility of each key stage of the 3 to 5 year planning period
Step 4 – Define major outcomes required for all business functions
Setting the ‘big’ goals for each function to support the growth targets
During the completion of Steps 1 to 3 it will become obvious that all other functions of the business impact significantly on the achievement of key sales and growth objectives.
Therefore, there is a need to review other business functions and identify the top-line objectives and outcomes that require scheduling in the context of your sales and marketing implementation.
Key factors associated with non-marketing business functions to consider include:
- Profit and cash-flow scheduling and key financial targets
- Major Human Resource outcomes such as the appointment of sales staff, support staff or professional management
- Conversion of roles or functions that are sub-contracted to internal salaried positions
- Key stages in operational development such as new premises, new plant and equipment or improvements in warehousing and logistics
- Implementation of process or quality assurance improvement
- Investments in product development, research and innovation
- Other key milestone objectives and timing of major outcomes associated with non-marketing business functions that impact on key phases of sales and growth
Step 5 – Summarise key milestone objectives in a visual format
Mapping it all out for feasibility, clarity and commitment
Step 5 should be the fun step. This is where you get to choose the format that is most appropriate and useful for you and your business and then map out your business goals and aspirations.
Over the years we have found that our clients like to see their long term goals and key milestone outcomes illustrated in a visual format. Typically we use a calendar or ‘Gantt chart’ style format as per the examples pictured.
However, there is no hard and fast rule that defines how you should display your Company Vision Timetable. Other examples include dot point timelines, flow charts and the use of graphs and graphics.
I believe that the process of reviewing your strategy and mapping out your key goals and objectives in a visual format is useful for a variety of reasons.
I suggest that you consider the following when completing Step 5:
- Double-check the feasibility of all decisions made and the timing of implementation as per the steps summarised above
- Select the most appropriate tool for providing a visual summary such as a calendar or Gantt chart style or flow charts etc.
- Map out your key goals, objectives and major outcomes to form a 3 to 5 year timeline
- Double-check the sequencing of each critical phase to ensure that all key implementation activities are schedule in the right order
- Ensure that enough time has been allocated for all key implementation activities and key sales and growth phases
- Review your 3 to 5 year timeline to ensure that it is feasible yet aspirational enough to motivate you and your team
The next step of course, is to commence the disciplined implementation of your 3 to 5 year Company Vision Timetable and the specific activities that will make your sales and growth targets happen.
Your Company Vision Timetable and Beyond
I hope that the setting of your key milestone objectives and long-term company goals is a positive, motivational and useful process for you and your business.
Next week we start giving consideration to our promotions alternatives in ‘Part 8 – Promotions Planning – Selecting the most powerful marketing tools’