You’ve probably heard people reference “needing to get from point A to point B” to describe their career, business, or other aspects of their life. Sounds simple, right? …. or is it?
We are continually amazed at the effort expended by companies during the fourth quarter of every year to develop their “next year” marketing plan — including the all-important sales goals for revenue and profits. Now don’t get me wrong — we’re all about planning and measurement (just read our posts and you’ll figure this out). However, we’re just not sure you can develop a plan for reaching point B, if you don’t know where point A is.
Allow me to digress with a simple example (since we’re located near San Antonio, we’ll use a geographically familiar illustration). If I asked someone here for directions to Houston, it’s likely they would tell me to take I-10 east for about 200 miles. However, what if that person wasn’t in San Antonio after all — what if they were in Dallas? Is I-10 still the appropriate roadmap to Houston? No, it would be I-45 south for about 240 miles. Same destination, but two different paths for getting there.
What accounts for this? Answer: Different starting locations.
OK, so here’s the point: the path to your destination depends on where you are located. How’s this relevant to integrated marketing you ask? We see too many companies unwilling or unable to clarify where “point A” really is in terms of their: market position, brand perception, customer experience, profitability by product/channel/market, etc. They either have inflated/skewed perceptions, or the perceptions they have are outdated because they were based on data from a year ago or more. In their mind, there’s little value in continually mapping your competitive position, brand reputation, customer relationships, etc. because they don’t understand (or want to acknowledge) how these items tie back to their marketing efforts.
So what’s the punch line? It’s this: objectively identify point A and it increases your ability to develop an effective/accurate plan for reaching point B.
Debbie Weil Debbie Weil, aka the MonaLisaOfBlogging.com, is a corporate blogging and online communications consultant and the author of the forthcoming "The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right" for Penguin Portfolio (2006).