Posts Tagged ‘marketing planning


Mmmm, sweat sock pie.

Parts is Parts But Pie isn’t Pie.
I’m often asked to consult on very narrow parts of a marketing and advertising program. For example: “Pete we just want to you tell us why our web site isn’t producing the number of leads we think it should.” Or, “Pete, just take a look at this direct mail piece and give us your recommendations as to how we can make it better.”.

The problem is my guesses probably won’t be any better than your guesses. Sure, I can make pretty good guesses because I’ve spent the last two decades solving these types of problems but ultimately we will still be guessing. Guessing is the antithesis of great marketing.

The trouble here is that we would only be looking at a tiny slice of the pie. Figuring out why the pie tastes terrible requires looking at the quality of all of the ingredients, the process of making the pie, checking the oven to ensure it’s working properly, ensuring the pie is the right kind of pie (nobody is going to like a pie made of sweat socks – apple might taste better). The pie is simply the end result of many steps. And let’s not forget the experience and talent of the pie maker.

In my experience, no single tactic (an advertisement, a direct mail piece, a web site, etc.) can be expected to move a B2B suspect to buy. It takes a coordinated series of contacts in multiple media formats to provide maximum performance of a marketing campaign. But even more importantly, these tactics must be based on a holistic view of all the factors that drive the buying decision. These factors typically can include:

  • How customers make buying decisions
  • Competitive offerings and methods
  • Industry trends
  • Perception of the brand
  • Relevancy of the message
  • Targeting
  • Pricing
  • Placement
  • Length of time campaign runs
  • and many more factors.

Once all of the factors are considered, it may be possible to make changes to specific tactics and improve said tactics performance. But if there are systemic problems within the organization or it’s marketing planning process – these issues must first be solved before any marketing program or promotional campaign can be expected to produce a real return on investment.

But making and selling great pie isn’t as simple as it might seem. You must use the best ingredients, measure these ingredients precisely (unless you’re my mother who has an uncanny knack for tossing handfuls of stuff into the pie and it turns out great every time), bake the pie at the right temperature for the right amount of time, display the pie for your customers and receive feedback as to how much they like it. And if the majority of the customers love your sweat sock pie, then you make more sweat sock pie. You don’t have to eat it. You just have to sell it.


Marketing Vs. Sales – Ending the Turf Wars

In an ideal world, sales teams and marketing folks should be best buddies. In this ideal world, business would come easily, profit would grow on trees and everyone would hug at the end of the day. Ok, back to the real world.

It is not uncommon for sales and marketing departments to have divergent agendas. This can range from teams that simply argue over details to outright hostility. When the atmosphere is closer to the latter, this type of culture can seriously effect business development efforts, increase sales costs and generally make everyone’s lives miserable.

Bringing these teams together to create a three hundred and sixty degree information cycle is critical to achieving superior growth. Sales should constantly provide feedback to marketing and marketing should reciprocate with tactics and strategies that support the sale methodology. That was easy to say but how do you make it happen?

The key is implement fair and transparent processes throughout the planning and execution efforts. This creates a culture of trust and commitment that motivates people to execute the strategy and embrace it of their own accord. Without a fair and transparent process, there is distrust, non-cooperation and in some extreme cases, sabotage.

A fair process engages all players from the beginning and continues to engage them throughout the execution of the strategy. When I work with companies, I not only invite the executive team to planning sessions, I insist on including the people who will carry out the strategy – from marketing directors and assistants to sales people and support personnel. In these sessions, titles are checked at the door and everyone gets equal input and the opportunity to present their ideas and opinions.

I encourage all participants to refute anyone’s ideas or assumptions without negative consequences to strengthen the level of discourse and enhance collective wisdom. By allowing people to speak freely and by engaging them in the strategic process, management can show people that they and their ideas are respected.

This is not to say that every thought and idea of those present will ultimately make it into the final strategy. Management and executive teams still make the final decisions.

The primary purpose of the process is to ensure that all parties fully understand the reasoning behind the strategy, the standards set for success and what is expected of everyone. Another benefit is gaining insight and ideas from individuals who are directly involved in carrying out the strategy, thus avoiding strategies that don’t align with the day to day realities of the front lines of business.

Utilizing the traditional “top down” approach doesn’t create a sense of ownership and is often counter productive to execution. When people feel that they are valuable contributors to the success of the organization with communication lines open and clear, mutual respect is achieved and execution is voluntary. Besides, even the janitor might have a million dollar idea.

Who is Pete Monfre

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I'm a serial entrepreneur, marketing and media guy, raconteur, writer, producer and consultant. I write this little blog to help you unravel the mysteries of marketing and selling, to expose the silliness that masquerades as marketing and help you make better decisions that will grow your business. And I have fun with it. Why not comment? That way we can have a conversation. Or better yet, hop on over to my web site and drop me a line.

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