Favorite Tools: Breakthrough Marketing Plans
While I have little patience for business books, I frequently refer to Breakthrough Marketing Plans, by Kellogg Professor Tim Calkins, and I often suggest that my clients purchase a copy (or two). Both Tim and I spent 10 years at Kraft Foods in brand management, and Tim’s book essentially teaches the Kraft methodology that we learned there for creating strategic marketing plans.
Now a wildly popular professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Tim has perfected terrific, step-by-step directions for developing thorough, practical, usable marketing plans. Along the way he also does a tremendous job of distilling the best practices of how some of the country’s best marketing companies develop their brand plans.
The Twenty Strategic Initiatives chapter deserves a special shout-out for its examples of strategic initiatives, related tactics and measurement suggestions. It’s a great standalone resource and it is especially helpful for marketers who sometimes struggle with the differences between strategies and tactics.
The book is a great introduction for people who want to learn about marketing and it is also a terrific refresher for more experienced marketers.
Defining Your Target
A lot of the companies we meet have not clearly defined their target customer. Some make the mistake of trying to appeal to everyone in the hopes of not leaving any potential revenue on the table. Other companies have a general sense of their target, but have never taken the time as a team to sit down, define, and gain consensus on the common characteristics of their best customers.
Both of these strategies can actually end up being costly to organizations. You’ll hear why in this short video excerpt from a marketing strategy workshop that I taught at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Entrepreneurial Center Accelerator. Not only does the video explain how to avoid these common pitfalls, it will help you define your target, resulting in a more effective and cost efficient marketing strategy. Watch the video here.
Maximizing Your Brand’s Word of Mouth Potential
A few months ago, we went to hear Professor Jonah Berger talk about his book, Contagious. The book is a useful primer on how to make your product/service more likely to receive word of mouth (WOM) advocacy from your customers.
Having spent time consulting for Procter & Gamble’s groundbreaking WOM group, Vocalpoint, we know the importance of having both a message that’s easy to amplify along with well-networked connectors to act as amplifiers. Berger’s point is that even if you don’t have access to a large pool of connectors, having a spreadable message can still facilitate some great WOM advocacy.
Berger identifies six levers that brands can use to enhance their chances of generating WOM, and he uses the acronym STEPPS:
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