In a recent conversation a senior manager of a large corporation said to me, “I am having trouble getting my people to buy into my marketing strategy.” I am still amazed that so many people believe they can create a marketing concept, call their team together and present a beautiful power point presentation, and – bingo! – expect all to go well.
The 20/80 rule still applies: 20% is the development of a marketing plan, and 80% is the proper execution of that plan. You will not have success in the implementation of a plan that is being pushed from the top rather than developed from the bottom. The key employees who will be required to execute the plan must be included in the original design. If you take the time to include them in the beginning stages, they will become “owners” of the plan and be excited about the execution.
How is this done? First, create the plan basics – all the areas you believe are important. Then call those who will be responsible for the execution of the plan into a fun, casual meeting; and begin by saying something like, “I have been thinking about this marketing strategy for our company and would like to lay it out on the table for each of you to add your input and thoughts. I feel I have something here, but I am confident we can take it to an even higher level.” This immediately opens the positive communication needed to move the project forward.
It is important that you become more of a facilitator than a dictator. Seek advice and input from those who will determine the success of the plan. Have fun with the entire process; help them open up their minds.
I recently created what I believe is a great plan for a bank. I contacted a senior bank officer and started the telephone conference call by asking him to allow me 15 minutes to explain my idea, sort of lay it on the table. I began by telling the story of how I felt they could increase market share while at the same time securing existing customers with my plan.
The process was more like “telling a story” than “driving a plan.” I ended the conversation in a very informal manner by saying, “I would like to leave my thoughts with you today, and should you find reason in my words, perhaps we could get back together in a week.” My presentation was like a casual conversation. I kept it simple while expressing the 3 Ds
1. Define the expectations of the plan.
2. Determine who is going to execute the plan.
3. Describe what you expect from the plan.
Remember, execution is the key!