Let me take you back to November 3, 1969. President Richard Nixon, in a speech to the nation concluded by saying, “And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support.” To Nixon, the silent majority were those Middle Americans who supported the Vietnam War but were being overshadowed in the media by the more vocal minority. Well, that’s who he thought they were anyway.
Now let me take you to Saturday, April 16, 2016 in New Orleans, where I had the honor of speaking to attendees at the ICCFA Convention on the subject of marketing. As I got to the topic of the Marketing Plan, I asked for a show of hands of all those who had a written marketing plan for their business. In a room of nearly 80 professionals, seven hands went up. Seven!!! Meaning, the ninety-plus percent in the room were truly the silent majority, the ones whose businesses must certainly be both silent and invisible to their market for lack of any coherent, planned marketing efforts.
Was I surprised? Well, more disappointed than surprised. After working in funeral marketing for over twenty years, I know how few funeral homes, cemeteries and suppliers see marketing as anything more than an inconvenient expense. It’s why so many funeral providers pull their advertising out of a catalog, because it’s easier than actually crafting and implementing a strategic program, even if the stock ad ideas stimulate…well…nobody. “At least our name is out there,” one could argue.
The point I was hoping to make last Saturday, and certainly I want to make now is this: The Marketing Plan is your roadmap, your pathway to success and it’s the tipping point between the ones who go out and win the business and those who only wish for it.
Having a marketing plan doesn’t require an MBA or even a BA! It requires having a very clear image of what you want to achieve within the next 12 and 24 months. And then it requires laying out the specific steps you believe it will to take to actually get there.
You can do this, you really can!
Start by writing the following questions down on a sheet of paper and begin to work your way through them. If you give it an honest effort over a week’s time, voilà, you’ll have an effective and actionable Marketing Plan that will propel you ahead of your competition – who are also likely to be card-carrying members of the silent majority. The questions are:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we need to be?
- How do we intend to get there?
- What $$$, people and resources do we need to get there?
- How will we know if we’re succeeding?
- What’s our unique point of difference?
- Who are our best customer prospects?
- What touchpoints (ads, web, mail, events etc.) can best and most cost-effectively connect with them?
- What’s our STORY (brand message)
- And how does that affect THEIR story – how does your audience picture themselves in a better place when doing business with you vs. the competition?
Once you’ve addressed these, the rest of your time is merely working through the details (we call them “tactics”) needed to execute your plan.
It’s no different than deciding which roads you’ll want to take to get from your home to your vacation cottage, what’s the fastest and easiest way to get there, which car to take, where you’ll stop for food and fuel along the way, and what to pack. If you don’t plan, you may not get there. If you don’t know where you want to end up in the first place, you’ll absolutely, positively not get there.
Make a promise to yourself and your business that you’re going to hand over your silent majority card and join the vocal and visible few who aim for the top. Be silent no more.
Dan Katz is president, creative director of LA ads. To discuss your thoughts with Dan on this blog or any marketing matters, email via this link, or visit www.LAadsMarketing.com. You can also connect with Dan on LinkedIn. See agency work via this link.