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January 15, 2016


How do you implement a great marketing plan?

How do you implement a marketing plan?

You've done due diligence in the discovery phase of the project.  You've provided creative that is out of this world.  How do you hit the correct target audience and what mediums do you choose?  There are hundreds of ways to connect with people.  Do you use Facebook, Google +, Twitter, print, radio, TV, Adwords?

An interesting read from Entrepreneur magazine will help you understand why implementation of a plan is so important.  I especially like the reference to Wayne Gretkzy, where you can't score if you don't shoot!

Implementation: The Key to Effective Marketing

I speak to a lot of groups and associations on guerrilla marketing tactics and how they can take your business to a whole new level. I sometimes get feedback from individuals who've attended my workshops but are still challenged by their marketing. When I ask what tactics they've tried to implement that I shared with them, their reply is often, "Well, I haven't tried that yet," or "I haven't had time to implement any of those things." It's no wonder their marketing efforts are still a challenge to them.

Wayne Gretzky, the great hockey superstar, once said "You can't score a goal if you don't take a shot." Marketing without implementation is like trying to score profits without taking the necessary shots. And implementation is one of the largest challenges small businesses and face today.

I can offer suggestions on networking, PR, direct mail, selling, advertising, positioning and online marketing, but unless a small-business owner actually puts these suggestions to the test, nothing will happen. I usually suggest that people do three to five things related to marketing a day. And studies have shown that if you do something every day for three weeks, it becomes a habit. So doing something related to marketing every day for three weeks will become a marketing habit, and a good marketing habit will solve the implementation challenge most businesses face.

Effective marketing implementation starts with managing your marketing activities. Measuring and control are all parts of good management. Using a simple chart to monitor your initiatives will increase your implementation effectiveness. (If you don't have a chart, you can use your marketing plan itself as a review mechanism or develop a marketing management accountability checklist.)

A simple accountability system can consist of a spreadsheet with the following column headers: date, action, details, cost, person responsible, target completion date, date completed and resources required.

The heart of the implementation of a marketing plan is the execution, the actual "doing" of the planned marketing activities. Initiatives don't get completed by stating them on paper--they require action, management and follow up.

Successful marketing implementation requires:

  • Effective and efficient coordination of activities--who's doing what and by when
  • Deflection of distractions or objections by focusing on the tasks at hand and determining where your time is best spent
  • Attention to detail. Guerrillas love details and thoroughness.
  • Staying on top of "who's doing what. Never assume someone else is doing something--guerrillas never assume. It's that simple.
  • Elimination of procrastination. No waiting allowed. If it's good enough to do later, it's good enough to do now. There's no time like now to further your marketing efforts.
  • Over-delivery and under-promising. Delighting your prospects and customers will turn your marketing efforts into sales dollars.
  • Doing what you do best and outsourcing or delegating the rest. Unless you have more than 24 hours in a day, you can't do it all and you certainly can't do it all well.

Accountability is a good marketing habit. Plans fail because those responsible for getting things done aren't held accountable for their assigned tasks. This includes one-person, entrepreneurial businesses. The leader or leaders of the organization must know who's responsible for what and must manage those who are responsible for getting things done. They monitor the specific responsibilities for the specific tasks related to each and every marketing plan component.

For example, you need to determine who's in charge of writing press releases and when they'll be done and issued. Who's going to update the website, and when will it be done? Who will be researching your main competitor and when will each stage of the research be complete? Following up and checking completion and due dates on a regular basis will make sure you're practicing the habit of marketing accountability.

The absence of this follow-up--of asking these questions and holding people accountable to due dates--will almost ensure a lack of implementation and lack of success. And if you're the chief implementer, you have to hold yourself accountable to ensure that implementation gets done. This is tough sometimes for one- and two-person businesses because of the distractions, delivery and daily business routines that have to be done. But it must be done if you want your marketing efforts to be effective.

Remember if you have effective marketing implementation and your competitor doesn't, you have a competitive advantage.


Al Lautenslager is an author, speaker and writer.





January 11, 2016

Create the Innovator: How?

success story

January 11, 2016

How to create the innovator who will succeed you in your business

create the innovator

Targeted and clear messaging.

There are four aspects of approaching any new client or project.  Discover, create, implement and measure.  This blog's topic is create.

First, let's look at some of the greatest innovators of modern times:

Technology innovators:  Steve Jobs of Apple computer, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Gutenberg, inventor of moveable type. Business Innovator: Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway; Banking Innovator:  Maggie Walker

  • What made these people become innovators?
  • What attributes made these people so successful?
  • What benefits have we derived from them?

Working backwards, Johannes Gutenberg changed history with the introduction of moveable type which altered how people communicated.  Instead of copying manuscripts by hand, he spread written materials to the masses.

Maggie Walker was the first female, of any race, to charter a bank.  Walker created a business to serve minorities and women in a time when women were not part of the business world.

Warren Buffet was already a millionaire by 1979 when he began to acquire stock in ABC that also owned a few radio stations.

Bill Gates is generally looked at as the entrepreneur of the computer age from a software perspective.

Steve Jobs founded Apple in 1976 delivering one of the first mass produced personal computers and the first to have a graphical user interface.

Mark Zuckerberg has created the world's largest network of users through PCs, tablets and mobile phones.

What is the common thread with all of these people?  Communication.  Each provided a pathway to giving the average person the ability to communicate with another.  From Gutenberg, reaching fellow Europeans, to Zuckerberg making it possible for all of us to meet 2  billion other people, each of these individuals has been driven by the need to succeed.

So, within your organization, you, or you and your team, are tasked with finding the person who not only has a fantastic knowledge base of your company's operations, you must find the person who is best able to convey your company's mission.  That mission statement has to be owned by everyone; you, your board if you have one, your employees, your vendors, and your customers or clients.  That mission statement must be clear, concise and adhered to fiercely.  How to implement that mission statement and make it effective will be discussed in the next blog.

Check out this link of why we think "create the innovator" is so important:


Other ways to create the innovator within your organization?

He or she has to rely on peer advisory groups; listening to your vendors, and feedback from your clients. Look at how many feedback polls are requested of you on a daily basis.  Go to McDonalds and printed on the receipt is a poll asking how your food tasted.  It's easy to do with many free services such as Survey Monkey, and the feedback is as good as the questions asked.  If you are too vague, the data collected will be of little use.  Keep your questions specific and simple.

There are many attributes to this uniquely important feature of running a business.  Knowledge, vision, drive, competitive awareness, target awareness, use of technology, and most importantly innovation.  In my opinion, innovation is equivalent to a mutation in nature.  In order to improve, there has to be a committed, viable, and natural path to increased and improved efficiency.


January 8, 2016

How to discover the information you need to be effective with any project.


photo credit freeimages.com

There are four aspects of approaching any new client or project.  Discover, create, implement and measure.  This blog's topic is discover.

Whenever an agency, no matter how large or small, encounters a new client or even a client with a new project, due diligence has to be performed successfully.  There are varying numbers of details that have to be uncovered to provide the best possible solution to the objective.  For example:  new client meeting for a specific task of creating a print ad.

Questions to ask about this single print ad:

  • What is the past inventory of print ads?
  • Who is the competition and what have they done in the same publication(s)?
  • What is the goal of the ad, other than to increase sales?
  • Does it have a specific purpose such as driving web traffic to a specific landing page on your website?
  • Are there clear goals of the campaign(s)?
  • Are those goals measurable?

Creating, implementing and measuring the campaign will be discussed in three separate future blogs.  Stay in touch to learn more.  If you're going to be on the client side of an advertising agency, prepare your own list of objectives to save time and money and to ensure you have a positive experience with your new part of the team; your agency.

Enjoy this Wiki article about the art of Discovery:


This procedure works in nearly all aspects of life but is especially useful in the advertising world.  Most business owners like to see and hear their own advertisements, but that's not useful data.  Knowing who your target audience is key to any ads success.  Where does that audience find information is paramount to a successful marketing campaign.