Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Marketing Plan - Prepare and Engage

You should not write your marketing plan in a vacuum.  In other words, you should not just sit down and write it on your own.  It's important to have support from above and buy-in from your stakeholders.

You will need to have a strong understanding of your company's business strategy, positioning strategy and the associated value proposition.  What's that you say, your executive team doesn't know or is not able to articulate this information?  Never fear, sadly, it's not that unusual.

It is highly probable that your executive might say, "we don't need no stinking marketing plan, I have it all in my head" or some words to that effect.  If this is what you hear, get ready to launch your importance and the standing of your marketing team to the stratosphere with the likes of 'Sales' and 'Operations'.   Marketing is no longer just the folks down the hall who set up trade shows and make brochures.  In this modern age, Marketing is a key contributor to the business; providing advice on strategy, offering development, voice of customer, KPIs, financial analysis and the like.  Marketing now commands a seat at the executive table.

One way to elevate from the brochure folks to the executive table is to write a proper marketing plan. Before you delve into section 1, Assessing the Current Situation, you must understand the components of the business.  In order to understand the components, you need to assemble a diverse cross functional team.  I suggest some or all of these folks:
  • CEO, President or General Manager
  • Head of Sales
  • Head of R&D
  • Head of Finance
  • You - Head of Marketing, Marketing Director or CMO
Now that you have the commitment of your key business stakeholders, you're ready to take on Step 1, 'Assess the Current Situation'.