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Breakthrough Marketing Plans

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How to Stop Wasting Time and Start Driving Growth

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Spiral Notebooks. Jotter Pads. Appeel Journals. For Women. Indeed, anyone who writes or reviews a marketing plan can benefit from this book. Breakthrough Marketing Plans is primarily for people new to writing marketing plans, such as business school students and people transitioning into marketing from other functions. For these individuals, this book is an introduction to marketing plans and guide for what to do and what not to do.

This book is also valuable for more seasoned marketers—people who are familiar with marketing plans and the marketing planning process. For these people, Breakthrough Marketing Plans has a slightly different purpose: to highlight how marketing plans go awry and help improve them. After reading this book some people will want to completely rethink how they approach marketing plans and adopt these ideas. Finally, this book is for senior executives, the people accountable for leading an organization and delivering results.

Senior managers are, at the end of the day, the people who ultimately approve marketing plans and the people who are most accountable for the results. These are also some of the people who are most frustrated by the plans currently being written. Some senior executives may want to use the ideas in this book to improve the marketing plans being written in their organization. Importantly, not everyone will agree with the ideas in this book. People wedded to the traditional marketing plan format, for example, may well reject the ideas presented here.

But those willing to look at things in a fresh way, read on. This chapter provides a template for a marketing plan; if time is short, simply follow the template provided and get to work. You will find the template is a pretty good starting point. It is not as simple as it looks, but the template will get you moving in the right direction. This chapter explains what a marketing plan actually is and why every organization and every product needs one. If you have a bit more time, you can immerse yourself more fully in the topic and the theories.

Chapter 2 explains why so many marketing plans are a waste of time; it describes the typical marketing plan and highlights why it is frequently a fairly stunning miss. Chapter 3 reviews the key elements of a marketing plan. Chapter 4 describes the characteristics of the best marketing plans. Chapter 5 looks at the marketing planning process and presents an eightstep approach.

Chapter 6 provides advice and suggestions on writing a good plan, and chapter 7 does the same for presenting a marketing plan.

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Chapters 8, 9, 10, and 11 provide tools and answer questions. Chapter 8 presents a marketing plan template. Chapter 9 lays out an example of a good marketing plan. Chapter 10 presents 20 different strategic initiatives to get you thinking about things that you can do to build your business.

Breakthrough Marketing Plans: How to Stop Wasting Time and Start Driving Growth

Chapter 11 reviews frequently asked questions. The ideas in this book can help marketers create plans that are approved and supported and, most importantly, drive strong results in the market. The ideas may also encourage more than a few people to deposit their current marketing plans in the recycling bin and start over. Time is short. As a result, there is no reason for me to try to improve my golf swing. This is broadly true, of course; there is no reason to learn something unless you actually need it or will benefit from it in some other way.

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This line of thinking also applies to marketing plans. The only people who should learn how to create a good marketing plan are people who need marketing plans in the first place. So the first question we must answer is this: Why bother? Why learn about creating a strong marketing plan? Who needs marketing plans, anyway? For that matter, who needs marketing? This program was created to build the leadership capabilities of dentists from traditionally underrepresented groups. During the program, participants created and led public service—oriented projects. As a faculty member for the program, I had the opportunity to listen to the very impressive project updates.

One dentist had led a noble program to provide dental services to homeless veterans in San Francisco. The program provided an exceptionally important and valuable service in a very efficient manner. However, there was one problem; the program needed more dentists to volunteer. Without more dentists, it would be impossible for the program to grow, to reach its full potential, and to have a meaningful impact on the pressing human need.

How are you going to market the opportunity?

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What is your marketing plan? The dentist shuffled around a bit and looked this way and that. He then rather sheepishly admitted that he had given no thought to marketing the opportunity. He markets his dental practice every day, and in this particular case, he needed to market his volunteer opportunity.

Marketing is the process of connecting products, services, and ideas to customer needs. People spend money, energy, and time on things they need or want. In other words, people buy things that provide a benefit.

For some products this is obvious. People buy toothpaste to prevent cavities, have healthy gums, or whiten their teeth. Companies engage consulting firms to provide insights and recommendations and to ultimately improve results and increase profits.

People go to a movie to be entertained. There is always a reason for people to do things; people are always in search of a benefit. Consumer products are, of course, dependent on marketing. Restaurants depend on marketing. Retailers, banks, cleaners, and circuses depend on marketing. So do politicians, religious leaders, and environmentalists.

They all need people to believe there is a reason to support them; there has to be a benefit. The list, for example, included the usual suspects such as Coca-Cola and Vaseline, as well as other more unexpected brands, including the book The 4-Hour Workweek, a new commercial airplane the Boeing Dreamliner , a computer game Guitar Hero II , and a thong Hanky Panky see exhibit 1. The list reflects the wide diversity of organizations who field industry-leading marketing efforts.