7 steps to the perfect marketing plan by Steve Henke, Harpeth Marketing


Live notetaking at the IMD16 conference in Chicago. Any errors are my own.

  • Don’t go home and begin the content, go home and start planning first
  • Some people in this room don’t have a marketing plan for this year
  • Developed a marketing and sales period which is a 7 step process
  • Start by doing your homework, understand business environment, decide on your strategies which set the tone for the rest, build awareness, generate leader, nurture those lead, create first time clients, create repeat clients
  • Homework tips – 3Cs, company, client, competitors – financial analysis and understand where your revenue is coming from, do a SWOT analysis, do post-project surveys for client satisfaction, projects are the reason they keep coming back to you
  • Pareto principle 20/80 rule works, who are your 20% of clients and what is the commonality, size geographic industry, where are the consistencies, do a year end survey, why did they hire you, what is unique compared to competitors, do they use other companies and why
  • Visit competitors website a few times per year, their services and employees, try some secret shopping
  • 2Is – industry.= what trends will impact the business, new technology, new players
  • A – audit, find somebody outside firm to do a marketing and sales audience, have them review plans, reports, proposals, website, get feedback from someone who doesn’t stare at it everyday
  • Strategy tips – most important part of plan, right strategy will have some success even if tactics aren’t great
  • Know who your ideal buyer is, ideal company you want to sell to, define them clearly to create your plan
  • Points of differentialion, how do you want to be perceived, everybody can’t be great and have great employees, that’s the cost of business
  • Are there opportunities, should you pay attention to big data, at least be aware and consider it, are there problems in the industry or my company that need fixing and will get you far ahead, sometimes education can fix a lot
  • Two kinds of clients – new clients and repeat clients, allocate funds to marketing to both types
  • Work on SMART goals, you can’t just set a goal and expect it to happen, you need to outline activities that help you achieve those goals
  • Growth grid – current vs new products and current clients vs new clients. Core business is current clients and current products. 
  • Awareness – website is the core of your marketing, well written, attractive; go social via linkedin twitter facebook google plus
  • Email marketing – get people to know who you are, stay top of mind, email does this, PPC/SEO/advertising
  • Network and exhibiting need to be added too, people to people environment is also necessary
  • Don’t have a LinkedIn page, have a linkedin presence
  • He’s not a believer in cold calls but do what works for you, if you do a good job, you only have to follow up on leads
  • Good content builds awareness and generates sales leads, give some away through blogs, but ebooks and white paper downloads are emailable leads
  • Webchat on your website costs 20$ a month, can have somebody ready to to chart at any time, lets you see when someone is visitin gand you can jump in right away, don’t expect huge return on it
  • Network and exhibiting are the best, his notebook is the best, he writes down everyname of who he spoke to and what they spoke about, he always writes notes down, even what someone’s hobbies are
  • Linkedin is a quality play, he turns down many invitation, only accepts people that there is a chance with, you can export to email list [careful, in canada this could get your in ltrouble]
  • We often do a bad job of working a booth
  • Get contacts to introduce you to people, their boss and colleagues, and stay in touch with those people, if your one contact leaves then you’re not in trouble
  • Nurture people until they are ready to buy
  • Email is to connect people with content, not to sell. Give them something of value, a blog post.
  • Participate in linkedin groups, that’s where your clients and prospects are
  • Lead nurturing – don’t take everything digital or remote, pick up the phone, go to conferences early and meet with clients
  • Share content by email – i say this email and though you’d like it. Cheers. A really short email. Set up google alerts to find this content.
  • First purchase is the hardest purchase. Please ignore the people you’ve worked with forever and take a chance on me. Need to mitigate this fear. 
  • Have a point of differentiation. Have a proof sources and case studies, clients and logos, white papers. LEt them see they aren’t your first client. Let them see your are knowledgeble enough to write about it. DO you have a first client deal?
  • First time clients – capabilities presentations and proposals are way to long and me focused.  They already know what you do and you don’t need to tell them. YOu don’t need to say how awesome you are. You need to tell them what you can do for them. What’s in it for them. Throw a one page summary of your company at the end of the proposal. 
  • Stay in touch with clients by email, share content, be active, participate in their conversations. Stay top of mind.
  • Project followup – be a client advocate who talks to clients separate from the direct client relationship. Be the problem solver
  • Send a handwritten thank you note. Don’t save the gift basket for the holiday season.
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