As New Year’s resolutions begin to fade quickly from memory like melting snow and that chocolate cake looks much better than the thought of dieting or changing eating habits ever did, we need to return our focus to business basics so we can fill the pipeline. Last time we talked about developing assumptions to start building your 2014 marketing plan. Probably the most important thing after you confirm your assumptions is to set your objectives.
As you develop, your objectives avoid vague or unmeasurable objectives because you will not achieve them, or as Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you’re going you might wind up somewhere else.” You want your objectives or goals to be S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed. Objectives are unique to what you want to accomplish and every business will have a different set that suits their needs.
Once you know your objectives, you can develop strategies that will move you forward toward achieving those objectives. It is also very important that everyone on your team and anyone specifically involved with filling the pipeline, know, and understand your objectives. Together you can develop a winning strategy for attracting potential customers and reconnecting with existing customers.
Max Euwe, a Dutch chess Grandmaster, mathematician, and author stated, “Strategy requires thought, tactics require observation.” As you begin to think about developing a strategy, keep in mind these five points.
- A good strategy provides the direction without dictating how. It describes where you are going but not the vehicle or the route.
- Sound strategy puts resources together with opportunities while utilizing your existing assets. Utilize what your people can provide and combine that with creativity to capitalize on opportunities.
- People dislike change and even the best strategy will have detractors so attract allies to support your strategy. Having partners and employees working with you will lighten the load and increase effectiveness.
- Make sure that you get buy-in from the people on whom the strategy will have the greatest impact. Share your reasons for change with your team to help them understand its advantages.
- After you have worked through your strategy, consider its implications. Ask your team and yourself if this new strategy helps, you achieve your objectives. If not, you may have to rethink your strategy.
Tactics are method or to use the analogy above, it is the vehicle and it specifies the route. If you select a bus you are going by road, if you select an aircraft, you are going by air, so in other words, you have to select the right vehicle (tactic) to implement your strategy. If you intend to reach a local audience, you wouldn’t select national television, but you might select a local newspaper, or direct mail or a more suitable vehicle to reach your local audience. So consider your tactics wisely in order to achieve your objectives.
As Euwe said, in order to develop tactics, you have to observe your surroundings. What have you tried in the past marketing efforts? What marketing tactics have observed that worked for other companies? Consider studying best practices of other contractors or team up with contractors from out of your area to share business ideas.
Consider benchmarking to compare what others have done and to determine if you can use similar tactics. Think about your options. Which media should you consider using to reach your customer? Remember that, one of the basic principles is to know first whom the customer is that you are trying to reach. If you don’t know that, then you will have a difficult time deciding how to reach those customers.
My website contains links to all the marketing articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of my new book, Navigating the Marketing Maze, click here. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with marketing services, call or send an email to discuss your needs.
Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, and social media strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by helping HVAC dealers more effectively market their businesses without breaking their budgets. Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the Fracica Enterprises, Inc. website.