How to complete a marketing plan

For more than 50 years, Mr. Potato Head, the world's first "action" figure, has been sparking the imagination of children. His mock-potato torso and pile of accessories give a child's creativity free rein to invent distinct characters from an assortment of eyes, ears, limbs, and outfits.

For guerrillas, Mr. Potato Head epitomizes the creating of a customized marketing plan: Sort through a variety of options to create a unique blueprint that will attract profitable clients to your practice at the least possible cost. Keep in mind that a primary objective in working with clients is to make their complex problems or issues simple to understand and solve. The same logic applies to the creation of the guerrilla's marketing plan—you want to simplify a complex task.

To focus your thinking on the plan's most critical elements, first write a one-page marketing plan. Show the plan to others for their feedback, and expand the plan once you have refined your main ideas for reaching your markets.

Guerrillas build their plans around seven sentences:

1. Sentence one explains the purpose of your marketing.

2. Sentence two explains how you achieve that purpose by describing the substantive benefits you provide to clients.

3. Sentence three describes your target market(s).

4. Sentence four describes your niche.

5. Sentence five outlines the marketing weapons you will use.

6. Sentence six reveals the identity of your business.

7. Sentence seven provides your marketing budget.

The following three sample marketing plans illustrate how to incorporate these seven points in your plan.

► Sample Marketing Plan 1: Spinnaker Consulting

The purpose of Spinnaker Consulting's marketing program is to make Spinnaker the leader in selling high-profit services to the world's major boat manufacturers and boating suppliers. This will be accomplished by positioning Spinnaker as the industry expert in helping clients accelerate manufacturing operations, improve sales processes, and boost product profitability.

Our target market is the chief operating officers, sales executives, and manufacturing executives of the 50 largest boat manufacturers and their suppliers. The firm's niche is to provide practical, action-oriented advice that guarantees clients will achieve improvement in profitability that exceeds Spinnaker's professional fee.

We plan to use the following marketing tools:

► A Web site that promotes Spinnaker and provides resources for our clients

► A free monthly electronic newsletter (zine) on topics of interest to clients and prospects

► Presentations by our consultants at targeted trade shows

► Direct mailings to follow up on contacts made at the trade shows

► Publication of articles four times a year in industry trade journals

► Sponsorship of one regatta each year, for which we will seek free publicity

► Semiannual seminars on profit improvement strategies for boat manufacturers

► Promotion of seminars on our Web site, in our zine, and with paid advertising in industry publications

The Spinnaker team will be seen as creative, collaborative, highly competent, results-oriented, and easy to work with. The marketing budget for the practice will be 20 percent of fees.

► Sample Marketing Plan 2: FairPay Consultants

The purpose of FairPay Consultants' marketing program is to establish FairPay as the premier firm in designing and implementing equitable executive compensation programs for clients in the Financial Services and High Technology industries. We will do that by positioning FairPay as the market leader in developing compensation programs that are market based, equitable, and highly tailored to the needs of the individual client.

FairPay will target human resources executives, compensation specialists, and board members in the Financial Services and High Technology industries. The firm's niche is to use data-driven analysis and the expert judgment of its consultants to create equitable executive compensation programs that save up to 15 percent of the client's total compensation.

We plan to use a variety of marketing tools to reach our targets:

► Yellow Pages ads in major metropolitan areas

► An annual 80-page guide to executive compensation

► A paid subscription to a review of the latest trends in executive compensation, published three times each year

► A free, quarterly zine covering the latest government regulations on executive compensation

► Speeches at annual conferences of human resources, financial services, and high-tech industry associations

► E-mails delivered after every speech informing our contacts that summaries and slides from the speeches are available on our Web site

► Publication of annual articles in HR and CEO magazines

► Use of the firm's Web site as a repository for information on executive compensation

► Development of a continuous search engine optimization program that will attract targeted clients to our Web site

► Two pro bono projects for charitable or civic groups each year

FairPay will have a reputation for using fact-based analyses with strong business judgment to prepare recommendations for client consideration. The marketing budget will be 15 percent of fees.

► Sample Marketing Plan 3: TechNot Consulting

The purpose of the TechNot Consulting marketing plan is to make the firm the leader in helping clients capture the return on investment (ROI) for their existing technology investments. We will do this by positioning TechNot as a technology-savvy, but not technology-dependent, firm that focuses exclusively on helping clients get a higher return on their information technology investments.

TechNot will target executives in the health care provider and insurance markets who have responsibility for the budget and performance of their organizations' information systems. The firm's niche will be to guarantee technology-operating improvements, such as lower cost of operating computers and better-trained employees, without spending additional money on hardware or software. We plan to use the following marketing tools:

► Distributing to targeted clients the results of a satisfaction survey of technology performance and effectiveness

► Conducting a direct mail campaign to 20 top health care CEOs after our speech at the annual conference of health care CEOs

► Developing a Web site diagnostic tool that will allow prospective clients to rate the effectiveness of their existing information technology

► Hosting a series of teleseminars entitled "Before You Spend More on Your Systems"

Publishing articles in the three major health care and insurance journals each year

Producing a monthly zine on how to get the most from your information technology investments.

Our consultants will be known for educating clients on how to achieve swift, excellent results; helping them do that; and then getting out of their way. Volunteers from our firm will give back to the community by participating in a local hospital's technology training program. The marketing budget will be 12 percent of fees.

The marketing plans for these three consulting firms are short and to the point. They state the purpose of each business, how the purpose will be achieved, the target markets, and the tactics each will use. The plans differentiate the practices by focusing on their competencies; one adds a guarantee. The plans highlight the precise niches the firms will serve and describe the firms' cultures so clients will know the kind of people they will be working with, from the start to finish of projects. Most important, these brief plans show how the firms will make multiple impressions on clients and the market to generate sales leads.

Guerrilla Intelligence: Divvy up Your Marketing Resources

The preceding examples illustrate the basics of designing a customized marketing plan. Now add one more layer to the plan-how you will allocate your marketing budget and other resources (time, energy, and effort) to target three groups of clients:

1. Current clients. This is the smallest of the three groups but, as mentioned, existing clients should generate the largest percentage of your profits. Plan to devote 60 percent of your marketing efforts to these clients.

2. Prospective clients. Your goal is to convert prospective clients into clients—if they fit your client profile and have problems that you can solve. Commit 30 percent of your marketing resources to win work from this group.

3. The broader market. This includes everybody in the business world not represented in the first two groups. Invest 10 percent of your marketing resources in the broad market. Devoting resources to this group is less efficient, but it has the potential to generate important contacts and leads.

0 0

Post a comment