A recipe for success

The epicurean delights Cioppino, Bouillabaisse, She Crab Soup and Jambalaya are more than just ethnic stews. Each of these recipes originated from people who had to feed their families with little or no food budget, utilizing leftover or inexpensive ingredients. They made the dish palatable by adding herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of the stew. Today, by adding quality ingredients and following the same basic recipe these stews are often considered high-end gourmet fare.
Seen as a metaphor, marketing professionals on a tight budget can serve up a reduced set of traditional marketing. By being creative, marketers can spice-up a recipe by using ingredients that include a combination of more traditional “guerilla marketing” and non-traditional online marketing tactics.
To make a particular dish taste right, it is best to have a tried and true recipe. To execute a marketing program you also need a plan. Few marketing efforts succeed without one. If you don’t have a marketing plan, there are many resources to help guide you. One resource, www.bpplans.com, offers online templates. PaloAltoSoftware offers Business Plan Pro, a PC program that steps you through creating a plan.
The book “The Successful Marketing Plan, A Disciplined and Comprehensive Approach,” by Roman G. Hiebing and Scott W. Cooper, is an extensive tool for creating a detailed marketing plan, and the book, “Twelve Simple Steps To A Winning Marketing Plan,” by Geraldine A. Larkin presents a more basic approach. Check amazon.com for other tools and resources.
A good marketing plan should always incorporate these basic ingredients: A vision statement; clear, attainable and measurable goals; market situational analysis or SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats); the strategies and tactics to obtain the marketing goals; a budget; and schedules for expenditures, development of deliverables and deployment of tactics.
The vision statement is a summary of the plan, presenting the overall scope, the basic and the intended results of the marketing plan. It is important to have clear, attainable and measurable goals. Selling more boats is not a clear goal; selling 10 more boats by brand name and model each quarter when compared to the previous fiscal year is a clear goal. It is also measurable.
Determining if the goal is attainable is the hardest of these requisites to quantify. If it means doubling your manufacturing facilities, increasing employment by 100 percent and finding 30 new dealers, it’s probably not realistic. But if the goal is a reasonable percentage increase over the previous year’s production, then it may be. Get ownership and feedback from your team. Try to benchmark what the competition is doing.
The market analysis and SWOT analysis help determine the feasibility of the marketing goals. SWOT analysis is a simple framework for generating strategic alternatives from a situation analysis. The strengths and weaknesses applies to internal analysis and the opportunities and threats are obtained through an external analysis. The internal analysis includes: Company culture; company image; organizational structure; key staff; access to natural resources; position on experience curve; operational efficiency; operational capacity; brand awareness; market share; financial resources; exclusive contracts; and patents and trade secrets.
The SWOT analysis summarizes the internal factors of the company as a list of strengths and weaknesses. The external analysis includes opportunities and threats. Opportunities are the real chances to introduce a new product or service that will generate superior returns. Opportunities can arise when changes occur in the marketplace. Many changes can be described as threats to the product positioning. Changes in the marketplace can be related to: Customers, competitors, market trends, suppliers, partners, social changes, new technology, economic environment, and the political and regulatory environment.
When the analysis is completed, a SWOT profile can be generated and used as the basis of goal setting, strategy formulation, and implementation. When formulating strategy, the interaction of the SWOT profile becomes important. For example, the strengths can be leveraged to pursue opportunities and to avoid threats, and team members can be alerted to weaknesses that might need to be overcome in order to successfully pursue opportunities.
The budget and schedules are to provide a predictable and controlled level of expenditure, incorporating expense and human resources/labor.
Finally, have all stakeholders sign off on the plan so everyone can work together to achieve the marketing goals. It is important to remember that a marketing plan is a “living” document, not something cast in stone. As market conditions change, the marketing plan needs to be reviewed and periodically adjusted.

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