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Small Business Marketing Plans Are Bad For Business

marketingplan.jpgIf you are a small business owner or independent sales professional and you are working on, thinking about or reading about creating a marketing plan – STOP!! So many so called “marketing experts” say you need a marketing plan and puke out all this “direct-from-the-textbook-junk” about how to create one and what it contains. Traditional marketing text books and philosophies weren’t written for small businesses. They were written for big corporations, so the irrelevant stuff between their covers doesn’t mean anything to you but wasted time, energy and cash. Most marketing experts only know what’s in those college text books – and I got to tell you for a small business that’s poison. I’ve read all the text books I have the advertising degree hanging on the wall. I’ve got the master’s degree too. And you wanna know what? All that standard education information is garbage. See, academics aren’t interested in the same things as entrepreneurs. They don’t think the same as us and they definitely don’t know anything about small business. They know theory and principles that work for the masses. That’s why this is standard education stuff. But standard education principles yield standard results and often times less when applied to small businesses. I don’t know about you but I’m not looking for standard success. Standard success is $30,000 a year and a broken home for your kids. I think we are all aiming a bit higher, that’s why you’re reading this right now and seeking something more. In that standard marketing education they talk about the “Four P’s of Marketing” (some say five P’s now). The Five P’s are product, price, placement, package, promotion. For a small business the Five P’s are procrastination, procrastination, procrastination, procrastination, procrastination. You need rapid but smart growth - and that’s not covered in a marketing plan or in the “Five P’s.” What you need to create is a “Rapid And Smart Growth Plan Of Attack.” This is a living and breathing one page document that evolves as you take action and test results. And it’s not just a plan. A plan gets filed away in your drawer because it’s too long and too complicated to do anything else with. What I’m talking about is a plan of attack. If you want to find success you need to ATTACK IT! I like to use a large easel and a big post it flip chart pad. I write in red marker so it’s ultra obvious and always carries a sense of urgency. In this plan of attack you want to make a list of no more than two or three narrowly defined targets to go after. You need to solidify your Gravitational Proposition – a unique offering statement that is irresistible to your target and pulls them to you with a natural, powerful force. Your Gravitational Proposition should answer these questions. 1. What is it you are trying to sell? 2. What HUGE benefit does your customer get from the purchase? 3. How much does it cost? 4. Why proof do you offer/why should I believe you? Your proposition doesn’t have to contain all of these things but a combination of the ones that puts your offering in the best light possible. The next thing on your action plan should be the steps you will take to attack your prospects and the individual actions you will take to accomplish those steps. Cross each one off the list as you finish it and add new ideas as you come up with them. Only add ideas when you can add actionable steps to take to implement those ideas. Create time deadlines for each set of steps to incentivize yourself to get them done. Even create rewards for accomplishing the projects. You must block out at least one day per week where you do nothing but plan and act – otherwise you are doomed to have slow growth and mediocre results. You must change your mindset. You must realize your main job is marketer not doer or seller or manager. Marketing is the most important job you can master if you desire success in large scale. So forget the marketing plan, the four or five P’s and start creating rapid and smart growth by taking aggressive action. Remember that you must test and measure all of your efforts for effectiveness and act accordingly.