It’s New Years resolution time, what will it be this year? Starting a new hobby? Getting into shape – Diet? Exercise? Joining the gym?
As a light hearted start to the year we thought we’d see what a healthy marketing diet would look like and see if it could help get your planning into shape.
Based on the NHS’s ‘how to diet’, we’ve overlayed their ‘Six ways to kickstart your healthy weight loss plan’ onto marketing.
1 REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF FAT
So this one is easy to translate to marketing. It’s probably even on the list of annoying business phases to lose in 2018: Cut the fat.
Often used to describe a budget cut, but let’s look at planning and tactics instead.
What activities do you run that take up the most time and resources?
Write them down.
Now list the return you get for each of those activities.
Cut the one that provides the least return.
Take a deep breath and remove it from the plan.
We often find that there is more than one type of return from an activity, so make sure you check back in a couple of months and see what affect dropping this particular activity has had. Maybe it’s more worthwhile than the numbers showed. Or maybe it was worth dropping after all.
2 EAT WHOLEGRAIN FOODS
Hmm, the wholegrain foods of the marketing department, what could that be? The theory from the NHS is that wholegrain foods are digested more slowly and will keep you fuller for longer than white alternatives.
Which of your activities give a short sharp boost over long term benefits? Have a look at your measures and results, try dividing them up in to 3 columns: short, medium and long. What qualifies as short, medium and long will depend on the range of results you get.
Try swapping a couple of the shorter impact activities and place the resources from those to a tactic with longer reach.
How does that affect the balance of your plans? Activities that provide an immediate return definitely have their place but in the long run it’s the sustained returns we are looking for.
3 DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST
Don’t skip the basics.
You could have a very explicit marketing plan, full of web content, social media, PR and advertising. But if your product isn’t everything you say it is or your business isn’t set up to cope with the responses, what good will all that activity be?
Never skimp on the basics. Make sure you have a product/service that has a customer need and that you know who those customers are to be able to tell them about it.
4 5 PORTIONS OF FRUIT AND VEG A DAY
What are the fruit and veg of your business? Have a think about what you do each day and what you put off. Chances are the majority of your fruit and veg are going to be in the put off section!
What reoccurring activities could be more easily completed in small chunks? Identify 5 reoccurring tasks, these could be monthly or weekly tasks, and set a side an hour each day to chip away at little bit of each of these.
For example: the dreaded timesheets, these are much easier to complete daily than trying to remember weekly, but, just like our 5 fruit and veg a day, so tempting to avoid!
5 REPLACE SNACKS WITH DRINKS
‘Often we think we’re hungry when really we’re thirsty.’
There are many examples of this in marketing, the classic being: ‘we aren’t making enough money so let’s cut the marketing budget’ when good marketing is probably what could turn things around.
Or maybe we think we need more advertising when really we need to review our targeting.
If sales are plummeting or activities aren’t reaching targets, rather than thinking we need to put another ad in the paper to tell more people, perhaps you need to look back at your basics and make sure your talking to the right people in the first place.
6 SWAP HIGH CALORIE DRINKS FOR LOWER CALORIE ALTERNATIVES
How can you get the same effect for less? Less cost, less time, less resources? As the old adage says, you get what you pay for. Going for a cheaper version may be great for your cashflow in the short term but it might not last as well as something more expensive.
Sometimes you need to look at what you are doing on a daily basis and ask yourself what is worth more to you? Are you spending lots of time on necessary work that could be handled by someone else for a small fee? Is that small fee more or less than the value of the time it would take for you to do the same thing?
This is the balancing act. There is always someone cheaper and always someone more experienced. Identify the minimum requirements, work out the costs & resources required to do this in house and compare with outsourcing. You may be surprised by the results!
7 REGULAR EXERCISE
Get out and about and talk to people; your customers, suppliers, stockists even competitors.
Spreadsheets and statistics may give you the bare bones of what is going on but what do people really, honestly think of your business/brand/product?
Staying in an office bubble can make us lose sight of why we are doing what we are doing.
Taking the time to regularly get out of the office and talk to your end consumers can be one of the most beneficial, rewarding and energising activities for you and your team – just like exercise!
8 THE SCALES
Sneaking an extra one in here, but how else do you know if the diet is working than by jumping on the scales?
In this context that is definitely the review. You can cut back on fat and add in wholegrain all you like but if you aren’t monitoring and reviewing how these changes affect your marketing then you have no idea what is or isn’t working.
And remember reviews shouldn’t come down to just the numbers, but speaking to your teams as well. If a cheap ad placement comes at the cost of a chunk of overtime and your teams sanity, is it really a cheap ad?!
Ok, so I admit it, some of the translations from food to marketing are a bit of a stretch, but if it gives you a little food for thought for boosting the health of your marketing plan then that’s what matters to us.
So how healthy is your marketing plan for 2018?
- Have you got the basics covered?
- Are your cost/time/resources balanced?
- Is there any excess you could afford to lose?
- Do you have enough long-term tactics over short term ones?
- Have you set-aside time each day to help break down those niggling tasks into manageable chucks?
- Have you reviewed your activities recently?
- When was the last time you left the office and talked directly with customers?
Room for improvement? We can help.
Futrsmpl offer an assessment service to show you how your business fits into the marketplace and how healthy your plans really are.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a complimentary introduction coffee today.
*We would advise that if you are going to test changing any tactics inline with the points above, you try them one at a time so you can see the real effect.