This week we will look into Putting it to Work. Here is the action plan template again, for your reference.
- Advertising & Promotion
- PR Campaigns
- Putting it to Work
The Action Plan
Putting these various tactics into practice is the key to the marketing plan. If you don’t actually do something, nothing will happen and all that time spent researching and planning will be wasted. Develop a system for managing your marketing tactics that works for you and your company or use the simple system that I’ve developed for small business owners to manage the process.
I like to use a simple spreadsheet to identify the various tactics that a business is using, when the particular tactic takes place during the year, who’s responsible, and what’s the budget. This gives you an overall look at your particular tactics and when they are slated to run. You can define the time frame as cells in the spreadsheet that correspond to a month or week within the year. Assign a color to the cell when the tactic is supposed to run. You can assign meanings to different colors that represent when deadlines occur for a particular event, like a magazine ad or special promotion effort in the newspaper or radio. The spreadsheet is your visualization of the entire process.
On a separate spreadsheet, identify each tactic and list the individual actions that are required for successful implementation. Again, use the individual spreadsheet cells to identify time frames. You are essentially creating a little Gant chart of the individual activities involved in the tactic. Let’s look at an example tactic and some of the individual activities that might be involved.
Tactic: Advertisement in Seasonal Special Section for Newspaper
Our example company is a residential pool supply and service company that will be advertising in the spring homeowners show for the community.
Individual Activities Required: Identify the specific activities involved in the successful completion of this tactic, which employees are involved and responsible for each activity and the budget associated with each. Confirm the critical path(s) and back date each activity so that it can be started in time to meet the individual deadlines.
Identify specific goal of advertisement: we want to push our pool opening service complete with water testing and chemicals. In previous years, we have sold approximately 50 pool openings per spring. There are over 400 pools in our community and we want to increase our market share of openings to 25%, or 100 pool openings per year. Typically, when we open a pool, the customer will also purchase their chemical supplies as well as water testing and other maintenance supplies from that company. They also tend to buy activity accessories such as floats from the company that opens the pool.
Identify Newspaper Deadline: discuss physical ad requirements and time deadlines with newspaper representative. All other activities related to producing the ad will be scheduled based on the deadline date. All physical activities related to the business will be back-dated based on the run date of the special section. These two dates are what’s known as the critical path. All activities related to each of these dates will be scheduled based on have the action completed before the deadline.
Create special pricing: the sales group will work with the accounting department to identify the specific services and products involved in the special and the likely add-on sales to create price that will be interesting to our customers, but still allows us to make a profit.
Create Ad: Work with creative department or outside marketing group to create an appropriate ad for the tactic goals and identify time requirements of newspaper.
Confirm Labor Requirements: if we increase our opening from 50 to 100, we will likely need additional technicians to complete this work. We will discuss the labor requirements with the operations manager to identify his labor needs for this increase in activity.
Hire Additional Technicians: give new labor requirements to human resource department or outside staffing company to bring in new employees in time to get them trained for the new business activity.
Train Technicians: train the new technicians in our methods and procedures for opening a pool as well as cross selling activities to meet our sales goals.
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