Could you get to Cleveland without a map?

Lost Sure you could.  You would head in the general direction and make course corrections along the way.  But let me ask you about your journey.

  • Will you make some wrong turns?
  • Will you lose time?
  • Will you miss out on some things that happened — if only you had gotten there more efficiently?
  • Will you waste gas and other resources?
  • Will this method add to your stress?

It doesn’t sound like the smartest way to get to Cleveland does it?  Why not just use Mapquest or AAA triptik?

Now, let’s refocus the lens and think about your marketing efforts.  Same question.  Could you reach your sales/marketing goals without a map?  Sure.  Head in the general direction, etc. etc. 

But couldn’t you ask yourself those same questions and arrive at the same answers?   That’s why having a marketing plan is so critical.  You don’t have the time, resources or the TUMS supply to wing it.  Yet…and this will either embarrass or amaze you — 95% of all businesses do not have a marketing plan.

Cindy Pinsonnault over at Pinsonnault Creative explores why people are so reticent to create a plan.  She’s exactly right.  My point is — it doesn’t matter.

Get over yourself.  Get over your insecurities.  Get over your time issues.  Even if it is a one page matrix that outlines the five tactics, the three audiences and the timetable each tactic will follow, it beats nothing.

Get out of your car.  Get to your desk.  No more driving blind.  Promise?

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8 comments on “Could you get to Cleveland without a map?

  1. Becky McCray says:

    Terrific post, and well written.

    This is the same idea I was trying for with my Simplified Marketing Plans for the Real World post.

    It is far better to get a simple plan on paper than to have no plan at all. Most of us think we have it all in our head, until we actually try to put it on paper. That’s when we find out that it is not as well developed as we thought!

  2. Mark True says:

    And let’s tell people that we’re GOING to Cleveland so that if we don’t get there, they’ll come looking for us.

    And, once we get to Cleveland, they’ll let us make another trip because we’ve shown we know how to do it!

    That might just be too much accountability for some marketers who are perfectly happy just driving around, wasting gas and looking at the scenery.


  3. Drew – great post! You have a great writing style.

    I think many marketers don’t set goals and put maps together because they’re afraid they may not produce results. Its always too easy to say that marketing results are tough to track.

    I agree with you 100% – a plan needs to be in place and goals set. How else will you know what works and what does not?


  4. Becky,

    I think many people are afraid to tackle a marketing plan because they think it needs to be the Mona Lisa of plans. And in the end, they do themselves a huge disservice.

    When I speak to groups, I hand out a simple, one page grid that allows someone to identify key audiences, 3 tactics aimed at each audience (naturally some tactics touch more than 1), how often are they going to execute and how will they know if it is working.

    That’s it. Could it be more complicated. Sure. Would a SWOT be nice. You bet. But a little something is a heck of a lot better than, as you say, thinking you’ve got it all in your head.

    Thanks for adding your thoughts.


  5. Mark,

    Very true, very true. But all too many marketers tell everyone they are going to Cleveland. Then, they pull out of the driveway without a map and their audiences gets there first and is waiting when they pull into Cleveland.

    Now…they look like they don’t know what they’re doing. And hard to argue with that.

    There’s something to be said about some showmanship in marketing. Arriving after your audience is not a good show.


  6. Pat,

    Ahhh, you raise a great point. It’s not just the writing it that is scary. It’s being held to it.

    And we both know that most companies don’t even set tangible, measurable goals. So, why rock the boat, eh?

    Of course, unless you want the company to be successful.

    Thanks for your kind words. With talk like that…you can come by anytime!


  7. Mark True says:

    Sorry to mix metaphors – which I’m prone to do – but this is also about playing green to tee, not tee to green.

    Plan the work and work the plan.

    Any other cliches we can pile on? 😉


  8. Mark,

    Well we could go with measure twice, cut once. I always like that one.


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