I recently had a strategic marketing planning session with a business owner, and while this exercise was nothing new to her she found it exciting and rejuvenating. This owner is well-educated from a well-respected university and has run a successful business for the past decade. Her opportunity (and challenge) was to grow her business while working less; sound familiar – ‘work smarter and not harder’.
The strategic marketing plan addresses some fundamental issues such as the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), positioning, target market(s), the USP, quarterly goals, etc. But we always start with the personal goals, as they in the end are the true motivation for success. These goals are what we, as coaches, often come back to when needed.
As we tackled the bulk of the strategic plan for this business owner, there were some relatively straight forward shifts from her past marketing. Guess what…her target market has shifted. She felt it happening over the past year or so, but didn’t really understand it. While this is a good thing, it requires a different message (USP) than her past market; it also requires different touch points and channels. Then we discovered she really wants to serve the old target market, and grow the newly defined market. No worries…we have different tactics to maintain market share with the existing target market with less marketing spend, and to grow the new target market with increased focus. The end result is expected to be less time (effort) and increased results. One BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) she has is to work 4 days per week, and spend the rest of the time with family. She was very excited coming out of the session and to have the strategic plan bundled into a 1 page simple, yet comprehensive plan. Her revelation was that it is indeed feasible to reach her personal goals through more rigorous focus on the target market(s) leveraging the right touch points.
My reward – simply that she was terribly excited about getting started on the tactical planning and execution. Sometimes the coach’s role is to challenge the conventional way of doing things.
- Business Partner – Marketing Coach – helping business owners navigate the terrain