Tag Archives: strategy

Energize your team with planning

A room full of people and the largest September in more than six years. Energy in the air. Smiling board volunteers. Real tangible results of double the attendance average. What a treat! After working on a volunteer basis for dozens of hours, I got to see the first results of the planning process at Seattle’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. The energy lit up the room at the Washington Athletic Club. After a tough year in a dismal year, we did what we tell our clients and bosses, started from scratch in our planning process. We did our due diligence, met to discuss our vision. And all this with time constraints, volunteers, and very little budget.

The plan had to have a consistent template to make it easy for our volunteer board. They had to make it their own but try to make it easy. We gave them the process, the vision, the follow-up and the enthusiasm to make a plan that they believed in.

The result was an energetic team ready to attack their year.

Most business people dread the planning process. Extra work, extra meeting, and extra hours on top of the everyday task load. Then it doesn’t seem rewarding since it seems no one ever refers back to it again.

Why do businesses need plans?

These are few of the reasons why you do plans. While planning is important in providing such benefits as a budget for measurability, taking time to analyzing new opportunities, outlining cost effective strategies rather than disjointed tactics, and efficient organization, the one most overlooked is to energize your team.

If you have the right process with easy-to-use tools and plenty of interaction to make the plan their own, plans can energize your team by giving them a clear consistent direction. Here are the steps we took at the PSAMA.

1. Puts everyone on the same page by understanding and listening to your customers and other stakeholders needs, your competition, and your entity’s strengths and weaknesses and the category’s threats and opportunities.
2. Openly discuss each team member’s personal objectives. If your company or organizations objectives don’t match personal objectives, success won’t be complete.
3. Gain consensus on the entity’s objectives both short-term and long-term vision.
4. Give them an easy –to-use planning template
5. Have them own their own plan by having your team complete the template
6. Review their plan to make it cohesive and to ensure it meets budget and overall entity objectives
7. Your team presents their own plan to the group
8. Build in a system for regular measurement tracking on completion of action items and reaching measurable objectives

We accomplished the plan that generated the exciting results and team energizing in just three team meetings. Don’t drag out the process. Gain consensus in the team meetings give your team the right tools and guidance, and then let your team own it.


No Styrofoam cups,Toyota

I just bought a brand-new third generation Toyota Prius. First launched in Japan, the 2010 Prius is the top selling car in Japan and sales are hot here in the U.S. Toyota’s Prius has helped the company dominate the U.S. auto market. Toyota has positioned the Prius to be not only fuel efficient but good for the earth with their tagline “harmony between man, nature and machine” (sounds like a Marketing Philharmonic tagline, doesn’t it?). As you would expect, research has shown that Prius owners want to protect the environment and they want to show the world that they care about the environment. Toyota even states on its website that one of its core values is to be cleaner and greener. Although Toyota sells other types of cars, it brand (people’s impression) is that it is a greener car company.

But it isn’t enough to say your green and to even have a product that is more environmentally friendly, you need to have all your customer contact points and your marketing be harmonious to maximize your brand’s value.

So what about the styrofoam? I asked for a drink of water at my local Toyota dealer as I was finishing up the sale of my new Prius. They served me the water in a styrofoam cup! For anyone who cares about sustainability and waste, styrofoam is abhorrent to them. Right then, I started questioning my trust in the dealer and even in the Prius.

Marketing is not your advertising or your next discount promotion, it is ensuring all your customer contact points are harmonious with your brand position. Even large companies slip up sometimes. It is important to stay true to who you are and to bring the benefits to the customer they value. All pieces (at Marketing Philharmonic we call it the Marketing Octave) need to be in concert with each other. Thus, ban those styrofoam cups, Toyota.

Rendezvous Lodge gets real results

I chose the name “Marketing Philharmonic” because we wanted to show how we orchestrate all elements into marketing to make real music. Our clients get real results with our entire marketing landscape review. One of our clients, Rendezvous Lodge, came to us about a promotional plan to increase the number of guests. (By the way, I have stayed at Rendezvous Lodge, http://www.rendezvouslodge.com. The view, the accommodations and the hosts are unforgettable.)

After analyzing their Marketing Octave of their customers, competitors, company, and category, we found that the most important change would be to raise their prices. They are priced under market rate and were actually running at a loss. Without a price increase, increasing guest nights would not reach their profit goals.

We also discovered that guests were looking for more activities; a significant potential revenue stream.

After increasing their prices and adding activities, Rendezvous Lodge is now be ready for promotion. Without looking at all the marketing elements, the return on their marketing investment would have been unsuccessful. As proprietors, Mark and Abby McNeil said, “Marketing Philharmonic produced a professional strategic plan with fresh ideas so we can meet our income objectives.”