Make 2017 the Best Ever


It’s a New Year! Happy New Year everyone! I sincerely hope you and those you love and care about have a great year full of memories, successes, good health, and much happiness. On the personal front, good luck with your New Year’s resolutions! I saw a great post that said going into 2016 were commitments for drinking more water and eating healthier, and 2016 ended up being drinking more margaritas and eating more tacos! Made me laugh! But, oh so true! We go into a New Year with high hopes and we start the year strong however we don’t always follow through past the first few months or we pick up on our commitments here and there throughout the year! Whatever your desire, I say pick an easy to accomplish goal or many goals – or resolutions – and make them easy to stick with!

On the professional/business front, I think we should all select a resolution that is easy to accomplish! And, in my book, Make Success Happen, soon to be available on Amazon, I hope you find developing a business plan easy to follow. I also look forward to your feedback and your successes. Whether you follow the steps in order or pick and choose the steps you need to focus on, I hope you find this guidebook a roadmap for your success in 2017. Organize a team, develop purpose statements, create a corporate identity, identify customer opportunities, select activities, prepare a budget, and implement and evaluate your plan. These steps work great for developing a company plan, however, they are also effective when developing a plan for a specific product or service. Best Wishes for 2017!

How to Develop a Marketing Plan in Seven Steps

I’m excited that Make Success Happen, Seven Steps to Developing a Marketing Plan, is getting ready to launch! This blog will continually cover the status of the book and then most importantly, the content!

Book chapters include:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Step One—Organize Your team
  3. Step Two—Develop Purpose Statements
  4. Step Three—Create Corporate Identity
  5. Step Four—Identify Customer Opportunities
  6. Step Five—Select Activities
  7. Step Six—Prepare Budget
  8. Step Seven—Implement and Evaluate
  9. Bonus Chapter!!!—Build a Graphic Standards Manual

Stay Tuned!

Organize a Team When Developing Your Marketing Plan

Organizing your marketing plan development team requires identifying who your stakeholders are. A stakeholder in your company relative to the development of a marketing plan is an individual who is in a position that has an interest or concern in your marketing plan.

When you think about who the members of your team should be, think about assembling a group of people who each have different skills and who are responsible for different tasks throughout your organization. You’ll want these team members to work together, in unison, on a common project — your organization’s marketing plan, with a common goal in mind — to achieve desired results, within a reasonable timeframe and within a pre-determined budget.

Your marketing plan development team is a gathering of representatives from each department who can contribute valuable information to make your marketing plan relevant, updated and the best it can possibly be when you get ready to implement.

This team of individuals can vary, so don’t lock yourself in to thinking that every time you have a development meeting the exact same people need to be involved. Remember that you are developing a team for several reasons:

1. Input from stakeholders is valuable

2. Ownership in your plan will help to ensure success

3. A sounding board of “devil’s advocate” questions helps to prevent taking a not-so-effective direction

4. Other departments have input regarding your audience that you may not be aware of

5. Stakeholder involvement can provide you with communication channels thereby giving you a more extensive reach to a larger audience than you might have had otherwise

6. Looking beyond your own backyard will help you identify activities that are going on in the marketplace that you can either complement, take advantage of, or get involved in

7. There are individuals in your organization who have relationships with your customers with whom you might never have reached out

8. When you rally the troops, you are better able to make smart and relevant decisions that will provide you with a positive impact

9. When you are faced with many opportunities, many options, different directions and numerous decision points, the more varied your input and the more well-rounded your team, the better you are to make smart decisions that you can support, justify and be proud of

10. Not unlike the proverb, it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to develop a marketing plan that gets results and is sustainable. By involving representatives from your organization’s departments, you get the input, feedback, ideas, suggestions, critiques, motivation, involvement and ownership that you might not have had otherwise.

Once you develop a team, you now have your informal board of directors that you have solicited and invited to be a part of your impactful effort. This elite team is necessary to move your marketing plan to a full-fledged roll-out and implementation.

Mission, Vision, Values Statements Need To Be Reflected in Marketing Initiatives

Most companies have defined their mission, vision and value statements. Many companies only have one, some have two, and some have three. You shouldn’t be as concerned with how many you have, however, as you should be concerned with whether or not your employees know which statements you have, understand how they relate to their everyday activities and how they can apply what they do to ensure that it complements these statements.

It’s very probable that your stakeholders won’t remember any of them anyway unless they are:

  • well thought out,
  • make sense,
  • don’t include overlap,
  • are easy to understand, and
  • can be applied to each stakeholder’s activities.

When you have a statement, it needs to be communicated throughout the organization and integrated into everything you do. This can be a challenge. An investment of time, energy and mindfulness helps ensure that each relates to the other in a meaningful way and can be reflected through every marketing effort. Have your statement(s) in place. They will provide direction and guidance. Evaluate them often and make sure they truly reflect what you do, where you want to be, and what you stand for.

Whatever your organization has, one or all three statements, communicate them throughout your organization often so that every marketing effort that is undertaken follows these mandates. You can communicate them using your website, social media pages, signage, your company newsletter, video productions, audio broadcasts, brochures, catalogs, back of business cards, presentations, town hall meetings, plant visits, etc.

Developing your marketing plan elements so that they complement and follow your company’s mission, vision, and values moves you closer to making sure that every word, message and effort helps you achieve your overall strategic plan – your desired results.

5 Ways to Invigorate Your Workplace

It’s been published that one of an entrepreneur’s biggest pitfalls is boredom. It has been demonstrated that boredom leads to mistakes. Don’t let it happen to you. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or have an entrepreneurial spirit, shake up your world every now and then and make changes so you stay interested and engaged.

1. Declutter every day. Clean up your to-do list, emails, and remove unnecessary paperwork, projects and reading materials. Remove anything that is a distraction. Delegate where necessary and make sure that projects you are asking of yourself or others to take on complement your company’s mission and provide a return.

2. Soul search often. Explore your value. Interrogate yourself. “Who am I? What am I? Where do I best do what I do? Who is it that can benefit from what I have to offer? When do I do it the best? Why do I do what I do?” Identify how and where you are able to add value. Feel good about yourself, offerings and capabilities to help others.

3. Communicate with a call to action. Reach out to others just as you did when you first started your business or embarked into a new marketplace or arena. Use mail, email, LinkedIn, phone calls, face-to-face meetings. Talk with people. Explore how you can add value to their efforts. Understand their challenges. Propose solutions.

4. Think creatively. On a regular basis, analyze what you’re doing and evaluate ways you can make changes and improvements. Use what if and what if we don’t analysis. “What if we continue to do what we’ve always done? What if we don’t? What if we do something different? How can we make a powerful and results-producing impact?”

5. Collaborate and be a team player. We often get complacent in our workplace. Look outside your comfort zone and communicate with team members and people in different parts of your organization. This might include suppliers and customers. Investigate ways to get involved bigger and better than what you’ve always done.

Be fresh and alert. These are keys to success. Keep sharp, educated, knowledgeable, involved, and experienced so that you can become aware of new opportunities and be in a position to take advantage of them. Work to create your own opportunities. You want to shake up your world so that it’s invigorating for you today and tomorrow!


Opposing Studies: Advertising Value

Professor Logan of the University of Colorado at Boulder conducted a study in 2016 regarding perceptions of internet advertising based on consumers’ perceptions of value, discounted by irritation. This study, originally conducted nineteen years ago by Robert Ducoffe, found the irritation factor of internet advertising was only somewhat irritating. Professor Logan found the internet to be less informative, less entertaining with significantly less advertising value. What grew, however, was the irritation factor. That means we have more advertising with less value and more irritation than 19 years ago.

At this same time, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) was holding its annual ReThink 2016 conference in New York. ARF released a statement regarding their study that they claimed to be the “biggest [advertising] study in a quarter century.” “Brands should be spending $31 billion more this year than last.” Diversifying media spending would mean spending more around many media forms, including the internet. So, if advertisers are all over the place with messages in a variety of media over a longer period of time, the irritation level, based on Logan’s findings, would be increased.

What’s the answer? If consumers are saying advertising has less value and more irritation and the ARF is saying advertisers should generate more exposure in more media and spend more, what’s an advertiser to do? Don E. Schultz, Professor, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, stated being reminded of an adage, in his May 2016 article in Marketing News, titled Irritating Your Way into Consumers’ Hearts:” If all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.” The advertiser is the hammer and the consumer is the nail.That’s not the way we like to envision our relationship.

So you can decide where you want your efforts to lie. Irritate consumers. Do you want to bombard them with your message with whatever new media arises so that you “hit” them – overexposing them – every time they turn around, thereby risking, and encouraging, consumer ad blocking? Or, do you want to spend mindfully to promote your brand, thereby increasing loyalty, informing, entertaining, and influencing your consumer without the irritation? It certainly seems to make sense that we should be more sensitive to how many exposure points we use to reach, and influence, our consumers.

Globally Acceptable Corporate Identity

Aim for an identity that is memorable, simple and attractive.  Is should appeal to your audience and be acceptable within your marketplace.  It’s important to communicate with your customers, suppliers, and employees when developing your identity to ensure that it is perceived as intended.  Your corporate identity, although visual, is strongly related to other activities, which, combined, make up your overall image.  Understand that all of your employees in one way or another are making impressions on many different groups of people.  Be aware also of the impact your identity has on your efforts to conduct business globally.  Your global customers have different national origins and are influenced by different kinds of people and ideas that what you’re accustomed to.  These experiences and tastes affect how they perceive your visual identity, which impacts their decisions to work with you, and affects your competitive positioning and success in that country.

Develop a Strong Company Image

Every day, your company identity is in front of your customers, suppliers, competitors, employees, potential recruits, journalists, shareholders, the financial community and the public.  It appears on websites, social media, videos, signs, brochures, press releases, ads, catalogs, price sheets, clothing, giveaways, presentations, trucks, boxes, stationery and a lot more.

Creating one, workable identity can be a challenge.  A carefully planned corporate identity helps to clearly relate your divisions, companies and product lines to each other, differentiate your company and products from your competitors and generate enthusiasm about your company.  When you do plan your identity carefully, you reap lasting benefits – recognition, respect, a consistent message and a strengthened market position that favorably impacts your sales.

Develop a Timeless Corporate Identity

The goal in planning a successful corporate identity is to develop one that is timeless.  You ideally want it to last forever.  Getting caught up in trendy designs or colors can make you look outdated in just a few short years.  That’s why your corporate identity needs an easily recognizable symbol or word mark.  There’s no room for complexity or vagueness.  Your symbol or word mark should be simple and easily reproduced in black and white, one color and in full color.  Does it embroider and silkscreen well?  Can it be copied and printed off of an office printer and still be identified?  Some designs are so intricate that only costly reproduction and printing can ensure they appear well, and that’s not cost-effective.

Welcome to My First Post on Our New Site!

Thank you for visiting my blog which will be reflective of our experiences and insights into what works and what doesn’t work in the world of marketing communications.  My company, Creative Technical Resources, Inc. works with companies of all sizes, as well as not-for-profits, in a variety of industries, all sizes of budgets and many marketing plan objectives. We also have the privilege of working with many personality types.  Life can be interesting!  Please ask questions and provide input!