I like the simplicity of it. Well done.
This article is meant to give you the proper motivation to flex your marketing planning muscle. The more you work at marketing planning, the closer you will come to hitting your personal and professional goals. Many owners and entrepreneurs have embarked on the long journey of writing a very complex and detailed marketing plan. Most never finish and find themselves on the rocks. The traditional marketing plan is not the most useful for the many-hat-wearing solopreneure. We must all embark on the planning process expecting that the path will take twists and turns along the way, but also realize that you will not reach your goals without a road map.
Remember: Clarity is Power
I came across this very simple idea in a book called Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants by Jay Conrad Levinson. As far as I know, the format for the Five Minute Marketing Plan is his. I have found many people who claim rights, but who knows? I have had success using this with my clients and felt compelled to share it with the community. I recommend reading through sections 1-4, and then setting aside the time to actually answer the questions, because if you don't play full-out who will? Then I would complete section five.
1. The Elements of a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is defined as a written document that details the necessary actions to achieve one or more marketing objectives. Put more simply: to attract and keep profitable clients. Your marketing plan outlines how you will get and hold on to profitable clients.
2. Why Use the Five Minute Marketing Plan?
To attract the right clients or customers at the precise moment when they need your help the most, takes a well thought out and implemented marketing strategy. Some business owners run their business without a marketing plan at all. This is a mistake. If you don't invest your time and money into effective marketing, your business will fail.
The Ready, Fire, Aim principal helps you to avoid procrastination, but it wastes your money! Many business owners just "shoot from the hip" without backing into opportunities. A marketing plan can be seen as a huge project, and if you keep waiting to build the business until the plan is completed you will be out of business. This is very much coming from fear and scarcity. People do procrastinate, but it usually because they do not fully understand the project, or have not accepted full responsibility for completion and results. Instead of just taking action to keep yourself moving, stop everything and invest five minutes now.
3. Before you Write, Answer these Questions:
Six questions to jump-start:
1. What kind of service/ product do you provide?
2. Why are your services/ products needed?
3. What is the competitive situation in the market(s) you want to pursue?
4. Why should clients pick you instead of a competitor?
5. What substantial benefits do you bring to your clients?
6. Who cares whether you are in business?
Set your top seven marketing goals:
1. The specific clients or customers you hope to attract
2. The steps you should take to make your service or product even better
3. Your charitable or pro bono goals (serving on a committee)
4. Your industry contribution goals (writing articles, speaking, hosting seminars, biznik events)
5. The number of new relationships you want to create
6. Your financial goals (revenue, profit, growth)
7. Your life balance goals (vacation, new hobby)
Seven Differentiations that Do Damage:
If you want to show your lack of creativity to your clients or customers, here are some differentiations that stopped working years ago as sustainable forms of uniqueness:
2. Best Price
3. Methods, tools or approaches
4. Service responsiveness
6. Importance of the client
7. Testimonials and references
Nine Differentiations that Deliver:
It is very important to focus in on your clients and customers needs, and then focus on giving them solutions rather than another slogan. Here are some differentiations that will help you deliver your unique message:
1. Category authority
3. A real guarantee
4. Giving something away
6. Highly recognized third party endorsements
7. Being first at something
9. Defying conventional wisdom
4. Taking the Five-Minute Challenge
Start from Scratch
I always recommend to my clients that they start from scratch, otherwise you are just following the leader. You will never be first, fresh, or unique, and you might actually over look a new creative insight because you "already have it".
Know your Outcomes
What are you here to market and for what purpose? What are you really good at helping clients or customers achieve? Always remember to keep your goals fresh.
Give Solid Value
Try thinking in terms of how you can serve and what you can give, because in this market you can't afford not to. There is actually a science to tithing and giving. What can you give to your prospects that will solve their problems?
Know your Timelines
If you don't set a deadline, you are letting yourself off the hook. Don't fall into the lifestyle of a "trier". This goes back to your financial goals and putting a timeline to it. How soon would you like to reach your financial and personal goals?
Identifying your Tools
I always start by asking my clients some very specific questions to illuminate the hidden marketing assets they already have in their business. We focus first on the low hanging fruit, then look to create new assets over time. What low hanging fruit can you leverage to increase revenue now?
Invest in your Future
If you see marketing as an expense, you are not seeing the big picture. Of course everyone has lost money on marketing, it is a fact of life and business. As long as you put measuring systems in place and test every initiative for effectiveness, marketing then becomes an investment. What percentage of your monthly revenue is set aside for marketing?
5. The Five-Minute Marketing Plan
Assuming you have thoroughly answered all of the above questions, in less than five minutes you should have a new marketing plan.
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
3. Sentence three describes your target market(s)
4. Sentence four describes your niche
5. Sentence five outlines the marketing tools you will use
6. Sentence six reveals the identity of your business
7. Sentence seven provides your marketing budget
Learn more about the author, Jason Brett.
I like the simplicity of it. Well done.
Good stuff here. It is straightforward, in wording and approach - strong points network members can certainly take advantage of.
Thank you for posting.
Thanks for Business article it is very nice and it is very helpful to me .
Thanks for the same.
Good one... thanks alas i am gonna prepare a marketing plan
Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments! I wanted to post a real example of the five minute plan to give you a better idea of what it looks like...
The purpose for Social Marketing Outlaws marketing plan is to make Social Marketing Outlaws the leader in teaching the new laws of social marketing to the entrepreneurial health and wellness community. This will be accomplished by positioning Social Marketing Outlaws as the industry expert for helping clients get 200 new targeted prospects to look at their Business without spending a dime.
Our target market is spa owners, yoga studio owners, gym owners, Personal Trainers, medspa owners, nutritionists, estheticians, massage therapists, and chiropractors worldwide. Our niche is providing turn-key systems for Social Marketing; everything from Social Media, Social Networking, Referral Marketing, Community Marketing, Telephone Marketing, Brand Equity, The New Social Marketing and Social Economy.
We plan to use the following tools:
Social Marketing Outlaws is seen as a creative and transparent group of social marketing experts that give simple and innovative tips and tools for building up a thriving wellness business by defining conventional marketing wisdom. The marketing budget for the social marketing outlaws will be 10 percent of revenue.
great job ...many things in your article and follow up to consider at my stage in my business...
Jason, You have a gift for driving clarity and cutting to the chase, thank you!
Hi Jason, I gave your article a 9! It covered all the bases to kick start people to not put off their 2010 plan. Thanks!!!! Lisa
Thanks Jason! So now I know what a marketing plan is and how to do it. Very helpful!