There was a time when I used to wake-up in the middle of the night, thinking about everything that was wrong and how to fix it.
A goal properly set is halfway reached
This is the time of the year where most companies need to deliver their next-year business plan. The idea alone is a nightmare for too many managers and marketing executives. We have to acknowledge it is a painful process. Especially cause most of us focus on the wrong problem.
How to start a Business Plan
Set an achievable goal
If you are the offensive-coach of a football team and start without asking every single one of your players for X number of rushing yards, or Y number of completed passes. You are doing it wrong.
Most definitely, if you start your business plan without a solid goal, you will fail, because you don’t know where you want to go, therefore, you’ll never get there.
Review your product strategy
Home much did you sell this year?
Sun Tzu said “Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles” before go out there to research others research yourself. Learn from yourself, learn from the mistakes you made this year and move on, but more important than that is to learn from your success.
101 – Know yourself
Review all sales, considering cycles, seasonality and every possible variable. Make sure to attribute success to the right variables, set them apart, create a statistical approach if you have the tools for it, or follow an objective logic if not. Also consider that across markets you may have different approaches. People in Napa valley are more likely to have a car than people from Manhattan
Distribution (People / Channels)
Now that you know which products generate 80% of your revenue, you can move forward and analyze the distribution (the people / channels) used to sell your products. Ask yourself these questions.
- Who were the top performers?
- Why did they get to sell more than the average?
- How did they do it?
- Is it the markets?
- If it is the markets what do they have in common?
- Is there a drastic change in one market?
- What are the trends that can be expected for the upcoming year?
What do we have so far?
- We sold 15 million USD
- We sold 21 different products across 13 markets. 5 of those products represent 64% of our revenue
- The markets A, B, D and G experienced change. While market G grew significantly, markets A, B and D lost share.
- The Y-segment started purchasing our products 3 months ago helping us increase sales in the market G.
A solid marketing plan will be to present last year figures, consider the needs of the company for new revenue, create a marketing strategy that will increase the sales of your main products and alternative scenarios, where you can bring together strategies to market your products through new distribution channels.
If you company needs 25 million USD in sales for the upcoming year, that means you have to increase your sales almost 70% to meet your quota.
You want to present the board members with a bullet-proof plan. It really depends on what kind of situation you are in. Yo can always pursue one of this strategies
- Restructure to increase prices
- Lower inventory in poor-performing products
- Clear inventory on poor-performing products
- Creating a synergy with your top performers
You are in a service oriented industry. Then you may not have inventory, but you have a quota to make. You have to consider whether or not paying commissions the way you are doing it is really making any money for the company.
These articles are developed to show the logic behind one of many ways to create a marketing plan. The success depends on the implementation.
Part 2 – Know the enemy
Part 3 – How to win the battle
Retail is great. Retail is freaking awesome in deed. There is so much people talking about how digital is going to debunk real stores that is hard to hear anyone. To be honest with the world we need to stop believing such a lie.
There’s a market for everyone and everything. Humans are social by nature, as long as there are humans in this world, there will be malls and market places. Digital is not a replacement of your life it is an enhancement.
This year I failed to live by my code and decided to join the wagon of the Black Friday / Cyber Monday maniacs. Instead of just going with the flow I should have seen and learn from digital market leaders such as Bestbuy, e-bay and amazon. Bestbuy extended their promotions for well over a week after Cyber Monday, welcome Cyber Week.
We did fine in sales, however there’s always something we can do better. Next year, I’ll remember to double check my basis, and not to try to compete against retail when it is not my place. My place is the Internet and the Internet has its own set of rules.
Read more about Cybermonday sales at Inc Magazine
That’s the way it is with good ones, you’re sure you’ve heard them before. Bad Blake, Crazy Heart
I’ve been listening to The Black Keys lately, specially that album El Camino. I have to tell you I was immediately hooked. It seems like old music made new, like an Indy band is playing covers on old blues songs. And yet they’re not.
Here are my thoughts on how to apply the same principles to marketing.
1. You are not an artist
Understand and accept this; better yet own this principle.
I am not a musician, not by far. I am a marketer, I do what I love to do and people pay me to do it. Keep yourself humble and remember you are not the only creative out there. Save the Rock-star attitude for the press conference time.
2. A great song is not just lyrics
The media, the wording, the product and how you relate to the market are key elements for campaign success. But above all is the message, how you relate to the audience is what matters the most. Resonate with your target audience like a song who seems to be an old song they’ve heard before.
3. A Great artist stills
If you are going to look at someone else’s job, make sure you pay for it, but above all make sure to still it. You know the song “My Way” by… wait a minute Paul Anka? Yes, we all remember Mr. Personality himself Frank Sinatra singing My Way. Although Paul Anka is the original singer and songwriter, Sinatra’s performance is unparalleled, he made that song his song. He has stolen that song for generations to come.
4. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
If you are anything like me, you will probably obsess over the quality of the final product, even risk to delay its launch and have everyone working for endless-days until it is perfect. Achieving perfection is time consuming and a never ending job. The best way to do this is to create perfect campaign for a particular audience. Write every single creative idea into post-its on a wall. The key to perfection is assessing what really is elemental to resonate with the audience. After all it was Antoine de Saint Exupery who said “Perfection is achieved when there’s nothing else to take away”
5. Practice makes perfect
Practice finding the key elements to great campaigns on accounts you want and you don’t have. Practice on those campaigns you hated. Practice on those customers who turned you down. Practice until it hurts and you don’t want to do it no more, and then practice some more.
6. Write 2-minutes songs
When you are able to see the key elements that will make your campaign resonate with your audience you’ll be able create great campaigns. Learn to do this as fast as possible, businesses don’t give second chances, if you delay to much a campaign presentation only to deliver something your customer doesn’t want it will cost you a lot of money. Not only from the customer that turned you down but from all the referrals you will not get.
7. Do burn your guitars
Jimi Hendrix iconic guitar burning moment happened when he felt he was playing so bad that audience was not paying any attention to him. He decided to sacrifice his guitar by setting it on fire. Or so the story tells. Burn your guitars, learn that you will not be able to get every single client and that everyone fails but winners never quit.
Update from comments
My Way lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to music based on the French song Comme d’habitude composed in 1967 by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. “My Way” is often quoted as the most covered song in history and its lyrics are not related to the French Song or it’s english version. More on Wikipedia My Way.
A very well written article providing an unbiased look at “The Shape of Things to Come”
Since I read at mashable.com that Google was set to create a Facebook Killer, I thought it was just obvious. Google’s great power remains in search. Google has failed in its earlier attempt to create a social media network. And that mistake did not come without a price tag on it. Why will they want to be something they are not? –It makes Schmidt look like he is really getting it.
Of course they still want to know every little piece of information we consume in order to better serve ads crafted to our particular needs, even if WE don’t really have any current need.
My take is that it is just too soon to tell. But it is in fact a diversion. Only a handful of people at Google know the real roadmap.
I was reading the article Building complementary services: A powerful long-term social media strategy at dosh dosh, it exposes a lot of insides on the social media marketing approach, as you may have noticed by the title, I like it cause it is actually very good, it tells you that if you do want to succeed, you have to provide value, and it does not come easy, it is definitely worthy reading if you are interested in the web as a mean to help your business grow!
Along with the article 7 ways to be worth following on twitter, and several other articles that for the lack of time I have not placed together yet. However, I promise I’ll make a list of those that I find the most worthy reading and post it.
“Publicity is giving someone a reason to Talk about you.” -From the dosh dosh article, I did love that quote.