Contrary to common belief, a marketing plan is not just the responsibility of your "marketing department" (if you're lucky enough to even have a marketing department). Rather, marketing is everyone's business and your program, planning, administrative and front line staff can and should be part of the process. Collectively your staff, customers and overall agency will benefit greatly from the opportunity to regularly share ideas that will ultimately be used to attract and keep your customers.
Basic marketing training is a great investment. It shortens the learning curve dramatically while full staff accountability for the overall success of your agency.
However, if you want to tackle some marketing planning on your own, check out my FIVE MINUTE MARKETING PLAN. It's fun, easy and really only takes a few minutes...
The Five Minute Marketing Plan is based on one of my most popular workshops, and uses a linear process to walk individuals or groups through the basic steps of writing a very simple, customer-center marketing strategy. If you can't wait until I make it to your state conference or agency I'm happy to share the program here -- sans the wild redheaded energy. Work through the process on your own (or in a group) using the instructions and handout links. Download five_minute_marketing.doc
Step One: Set-up - Bring your team together for a Marketing Planning Session (30 - 45 minutes is a good time frame). Set up the activity by explaining that they will be taking part in an the Five Minute Marketing Method. This super-simple formula allows anyone, no matter their experience, to create customer-centered marketing strategies. Bring plenty of pens and pencils for those who might come a bit unprepared.
Step Two: Choose ONE product - Ask each person to choose ONE specific and existing "product" they need to marketing more effectively. Explain that a product can be an event, service, program, class, league, camp, person, rental facility, job, sponsorship, volunteer opportunity or idea.
Require participants to choose ONE product, rather than a product segment. In other words, choose Science Camp for Kids rather than summer camps. Choose Masters Swim rather than the entire Aquatic Center.
Step Three: Define Objective - Once the product is chosen it's time to commit to an objective. In other words, what do you want to accomplish, by when? Objectives often are stated using the word "increase." For example, "My marketing objective is to increase registration by 20% by next season;" "I want to recruit 50 new baby boomer volunteers by December;" I want to generate $50,000 in sponsorships by July 4.
Step Four: Distribute and Prepare Templates -Distribute the handouts Download give_me_five_short.doc requesting that participants not read ahead. Ask people to write down their product and objective at the top of your worksheet. Then ask them to list their primary target audience as it relates to this product/objectives.
Step Five: Explain Process and Rules - that you are going to ask two questions pertaining to five areas of marketing. Once you are done reading both parts of the question you will say GO and give them one minute to respond, in writing, to that set of questions. The process is designed to engage both sides of the brain and to engage visual, aural and kinesthetic learners. Just before you begin -- remind your group to:
- Listen to both parts of the question before they begin
- Not to read ahead to the next section.
- Keep writing (even if they are doodling) until the minute is "up" and you say, stop.
- Bullet points are fine; no one will grade their spelling, punctuation or grammar.
Step Six: Questions and Answers -Read through the first set of questions under the Product category. When you are finished reading say, "Go!" Set your timer for one minute. When the minute is up say, "stop."
Read through the remaining four sections using the same process.
Step Seven: - Edit - Once you are finished with the questions ask participants to go back through their ideas editing for clarity.
Step Eight: Prioritize and set deadlines:
- Circle and label one idea that they will complete before next week.
- Circle and label one more idea that they will complete before next month.
- Circle one last idea they will complete before next quarter. You get the idea. You can change the time-line based on your specific needs and calendar, of course.
Step Nine: Debrief - The final part of the process, the debrief, should allow participants to
- share ideas with others
- discuss what they liked and didn't like about the process
- Create accountability among the group (will they submit their plans to a "leader," be "rewarded" for completing new tasks, come back together to discuss their success/failure implementing new ideas, etc.)
With the right combination of motivation, guidance, simple instruction and these step-by-step templates you can take your marketing from mediocre to magical.
Have a great time and PLEASE let me know (COMMENT below) how the FIVE MINUTE Formula works for you!