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I often start workshops by offering to write up on the board in red or green pen. Red for something they hate about marketing, and green for something they love about marketing. Without fail there will be someone in the room that hates how hard it is to get a return on investment, and another that loves the straight line from effort to results. What are these people doing so differently? Let’s explore… ~ Bryony Thomas, Author | Watertight Marketing

The key difference between people that see a healthy return on their marketing, and those that don’t, is whether the unseen strategic thinking has been done.

The marketing people see…

What most people see of marketing is what goes out into the world. By definition, the visible marketing is what businesses are putting out the get noticed and get people interested. This is Taps in the Watertight Marketing core metaphor (See Chapter 2 & 8). The thing is, if you’re not a marketer, it can be easy to assume that what you see is all there is. If you only actually do the stuff that’s visible, it won’t work! There are underpinning foundation activities under the radar that are essential to seeing a return.


Marketing people see

The marketing thinking people don’t see…

For this stuff to work, by which I mean deliver you long-term healthy sales results from customers that you love, there’s a bit of thinking to do. We split this into four areas of focus, called the Four Flow Foundations (see Chapter 2, and 11). These are:

  1. First Flow Foundation – The Right Work: A healthy client mix is made up of those that serve both purpose and profit, ensuring your business is energised and resourced.
  2. Second Flow Foundation – Balanced Routine: A balanced marketing routine is one that has an effective tool or technique mapped to every step of a sales journey.
  3. Third Flow Foundation – Baseline Rhythm: A commitment to marketing that is consistently delivered at intervals and pace matched to your market.
  4. Fourth Flow Foundation – Maintain Momentum: Maintaining enthusiasm is made possible by a compelling business vision that is translated into a clear plan.
Four Flow Foundations Chart

How this breaks down into projects…

Within these four areas of thinking, there are core strategic projects that need to be refreshed at least annually. These each represent bits of work that typically take between 3-10 days of serious thought and effort, or more.

Projects to map The Right Work

The Right Work sits at the intersection of purpose and profit, ensuring that your business is both fully energised and resourced. You know you have this right when a good 80% or more fo the work on your books lights your soul, and tops up your bank balance.

Strategic Projects

  • Customer Characterisations: Development of four clear Customer Characterisations for each of the four quadrants of the PP Matrix (see Chapter 11).
  • Product / Service Analysis: Assessment of pricing and cost-to-serve to determine profitability, then strategic value and other factors to assess the purposefulness of your market offerings.
  • Competitor Review: Understanding how your propositions sit within a competitive landscape, including identification of your Real Competitors (see second edition p.83).
  • Proposition Clarification: Using this information to develop, or clarify, your core set of Complete & Compelling Propositions (see second edition p.149).
  • Four Profit Strategies: Synthesis of these elements to clearly define your Focus, Showcase, Systemise and Referral strategies from within the PP Matrix.

Projects to map the Balanced Routine

A Balanced Marketing Routine is one that is carefully mapped to ensure that every step a person’s buying decision is supported with effective marketing tools. This is like a well-rounded exercise plan.

Strategic Projects

  • Journey Mapping: Map out the stages and steps in a buying journey to understand the marketing tasks at each.
  • Messaging Matrix: Identifying compelling messages for every step of a sale, using The Logic Sandwich model (see Chapter 3).
  • Tool Selection: Identifying an integrated set of marketing tools using The Time Triangle framework (see Chapter 4).
  • Identifying Influencers: Identifying the third parties that impact different stages in the buying journey, using the Influencer Icecream model (see Chapter 5).
  • Priority Planning: A sequenced plan of which investments to make, clarified into a Do It, Delay It, and Ditch It List (see Chapter 2).
  • Marketing Activity Plan: Collation of these elements into a one page marketing activity plan per journey.
  • Marketing Gap Analysis: Assessment of the marketing you have in place to identify the opportunities for improvement, using a Touchpoint Leak™  Traffic Light (see Chapter 2).
  • Marketing Tool Investments: Suggested tool selection and investments to support the identified customer journeys, using the Leak Tweak Themes (see Part Three).

Projects to get into a Baseline Rhythm

A Baseline Marketing Rhythm is a commitment to delivering your marketing activity at a frequency matched to the pace of your market. This is like a regular exercise regime.

Strategic Projects

  • Marketing Activity Calendar: Taking the one page plan from the previous activities and mapping it onto a 12-month calendar.
  • Measurement Framework: Development of the robust and strategic process for measuring marketing performance. And we don’t just mean the number of MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads)!  (See Chapter 10)
  • Marketing Skills Assessment: Assess the strategic, management and tactical skills within the organisation and identify any gaps.
  • Marketing Supplier Review: Review or propose marketing supplier relationships to deliver the plan.
  • Marketing Resource Plan: Propose marketing resourcing, and advise & oversee recruitment to deliver the plan.
  • Marketing Budget: Preparation of a Budget Shape for the marketing activity, and ongoing budget for resourcing the plan. (See Chapter 9)

Projects to help Maintain Marketing Momentum

Your Marketing Momentum is based on your purpose driven by the vision & values that guide everything that you do, motivating you to keep going and clarifying the next steps into a defined plan.

Strategic Projects

  • Business Vision: Clarifying and articulating a compelling business vision that your team understands and buys into.
  • Business Values: Identifying and articulating the values that guide how you behave, and ensuring these are lived throughout your business.
  • Three-Year Plan: A phased plan to take your business manageably through the stages of marketing maturity.
  • 12-Month Plan: Ensuring that this is transferred into a 12-month plan annually.
  • 90 Day Reviews: Putting in a 12-week cycle to review, re-prioritise, and re-energise.
Flow Foundation Projects

When you’ve done the thinking in each of these boxes, the visible aspect of marketing will start to deliver you a healthy return. If you haven’t, it almost certainly won’t!

Does your marketing support healthy sales flow?

We’ve developed a 10-minute assessment to help you quickly pinpoint if your marketing operation is truly supporting the long-term health of your business.

It’s really very exciting when you get this right!

By Bryony Thomas, Author – Watertight Marketing

Bryony Thomas

Bryony Thomas

Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing

Bryony Thomas is the creator of the multi-award winning  Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her best-selling book of the same name. She is one of the UK's foremost marketing thinkers, featured by the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, Business Insider and many more, and in-demand speaker for business conferences, in-house sales days and high-level Board strategy days.

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