Building a Scalable Marketing Plan

Below are our favorite quotes from and commentary on a great blog post about having Scalable Marketing Plan. This methodology is a fantastic approach for small- and medium-sized organization as well as a great way to control costs.

1. Introduction: Flexibility Is Key

Think of it as a jumping-off point. You have launched your business and you are thrilled and delighted. Now, you need to keep growing and improving.

The “what if” scenarios and their potential payoffs are tantalizing. What would it take to capture a larger share of your existing clients’ business? How would launching new product or service lines support your targets for expanding that customer base and perhaps even the vertical markets you serve? Keep your entrepreneur’s eye open and seek new avenues and opportunities.

But one question sometimes gets neglected amid all those projections: what if the “what if” scenarios actually materialize?
When that industry, market, or geographic opening presents itself, you have to be ready to lead your company’s move into expansion mode. Don’t be caught by surprise. If you are constantly evaluating your opportunities, you will be ready when that “something new” comes along.

2. Perfect the Process, Not the Plan

Elasticity and Scalability

….John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing and author of Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer–Sell Like a Superstar (Portfolio, 2014).

But there is what he calls an essential planning mentality that equips you to keep tabs on the market, stay very close to customers, and remain informed about their needs and concerns. “It’s not a marketing plan, but marketing planning, that actually allows elasticity. It’s a culture of planning continually. People get really married to this plan, this event, and then they put it in a drawer, and that’s the end of it. And it’s really more about the process involved in the culture of planning than about creating adoption.”

In other words, genuine agility in seizing marketing opportunities comes not from a document…

Marketing is a process and not just a static plan. You must own the idea that the plan is what you make it; not that you must make your actions fit the plan.

3. Create a “Market Expansion” Toolkit

Mindset encompasses not only the ability, but also the will, to pivot when that’s what you should be doing to advance the company’s growth. That plays into your dexterity at assessing risks and rewards, knowing when to push past roadblocks, and recognizing when it’s time to change course. Again, you make the plan. Your direct marketing plans  must be organized to acknowledge that growth and new opportunity will come along and you will be ready to expand and alter as needed.

4. The Relationship Factor

Jantsch points out that establishing “a track record of credibility” with your existing customer base “can be the most potent way to grow a business” because they trust you and value the quality of service you provide. And that opens the door to drawing on your network to help you research emerging opportunities. Networking is not limited to the occasional social gathering. Your business relationships will pave the way for sharing, learning and reacting to those growth opportunities.

Jantsch calls one of his “favorite secret weapons”–the media. “Magazines, radio, television–all the various units out there that want to sell you advertising–have a tremendous amount of research on the very markets that you’re trying to go into. And in many cases, they will provide you with that information readily and freely, because it’s how they sell advertising to folks in those markets. Find out what your competition is doing from these well-versed specialists.

5. Review Your Resources

As you’re identifying viable opportunities for expansion, take a look at your internal resources, and think about how you’ll need to deploy them to manage your growth goals. You already have your business running like a top; will additional/new business upset your momentum?

Consider your financial, organizational, and human capital needs. Budget is one consideration: do you have the resources necessary to finance an accelerated or expanded marketing campaign? But don’t neglect the other kinds of capital required to execute your strategy successfully. Think about your staff and its current responsibilities. Is it big enough to handle the increased marketing burden without neglecting current customers, products, and services? Do you have all the in-house expertise you need to market in new territories or to prospects in new industries? We feel a lot of people and some of the people who walk through our doors, can’t address these issues and put them off as if it’s too far in the future.

6. Keep Your Message on Target

As your company’s reputation and name recognition grow, you’ll need to make sure that your marketing message keeps pace and reflects the attributes that your loyal customers value most.

Have you articulated what distinguishes you from your competitors in the vertical markets or regions that you’ve targeted for market entry? Start by making sure you know what really attracts and retains the repeat customers you’ve already cultivated. 

With some careful thought and planning at the outset, you will have identified your core competencies and ethics and the addition of new or advanced services should confirm to your customers that you are on track and responding to their needs.

What’s missing? There is a lot of theory here on creating a scalable Marketing Plans, but how does one go through the exercise of creating one?

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