How to Eat an Elephant
Do you want to plan and market like a multinational organization but the task seems daunting?
So how do you eat an elephant (or how do you plan like a large established organization)? ONE BITE AT A TIME.
When it comes to annual planning, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with what seems to be an enormous, time consuming and complex task. It does not have to be, just take it ONE BITE AT A TIME. Breaking a task down into well-planned steps will not only make the task more manageable, it will also add structure and deliver a better outcome.
One of the simplest ways to break down planning is to divide it into three distinct phases; 1) Setting your strategy and overall goal, 2) Designing the annual plan, clarifying specific needs and activities, and then 3) Developing and implementing detailed activity plans. To make it even easier these three phases can be further broken down into key steps.
1) Setting Consumer/Customer Driven strategy
Consumer/Customer Driven Strategy starts with a situation analysis, the assessment of your brand, your consumers/customers, your market, past programs and performance. This analysis lets you know what you need to do; it clarifies the barriers to overcome and the opportunities to take advantage of, and helps you set a single and focused goal.
2) Annual planning
Once you have your goal, you need to plan how to get there. Planning begins with knowing who your customers are and what will make them to choose your product/brand. Many companies skip this step and jump right to the activities, but an understanding of your customers and their motivation gives you a real competitive advantage and aids in planning targeted activities that change the specific perceptions and behaviours in order to meet your goal.
With a road map to your destination, it’s time to build and execute your marketing activities and programs. The situation analysis is a good starting point for developing your activities, it will let you know what programs you may repeat or adapt, or if you need to design new ones. Once you have completed the right plan of activities, the fun begins; it’s time to execute.
The last step is the post evaluations of activities. Measuring the results against the goals lets you know what has worked and what has not, enabling you to constantly improve planning and performance. This step is often skipped, much to a company’s detriment.
So rather than becoming overwhelmed by the complexity of planning, or continuing to run around fighting fires and fussing over the details of promotions and programs that have been run for years (that never really worked), you can eat the elephant one bite at a time. Take the time upfront, plan like a multinational, save time down the road and drive performance and growth.