Align Your Marketing Plans with Your Strategic Plans

A strategic marketing plan is only as effective as a strategic business plan. As a marketer, you can write your marketing plan without having a strategic business plan to reference, but it will not be as effective. Leadership in your company should have a strategic plan to maintain or grow their business — along with providing you the foundation upon which to build your marketing plan.

A strategic plan gives everyone in the company direction on where it’s headed in the future (six, twelve, eighteen, twenty-four, thirty-six, and forty-eight months). Both short- and long-term goals must be included. The strategic plan committee should consist of five to twelve people, but everyone in the company must have a general knowledge of the plan. Each employee should understand how they fit into the strategic plan of the company and how they are participating in achieving the goals. This is instrumental to the success of the plan.

Once this strategic business plan has been assembled, communicated, and implemented, a strategic marketing plan must be created. By knowing the overall direction of the company, you will better be able to write and implement an effective marketing strategy. This ensures you, as the marketer or business developer, are spending your time in the right places according to the company’s strategy.

For example, if your firm decides to grow its healthcare studio, then part of your strategic marketing plan would be increasing your firm’s visibility to this market. This could be done in several ways:

  • Presentations at healthcare industry trade shows
  • Sponsoring healthcare conferences
  • Writing and getting published in healthcare newsletters/magazines/blogs
  • Creating a checklist for hospital administrators on selecting a design firm

These strategies would help reach your firm’s goals of gaining additional healthcare market share. Being as specific and focused as possible in both the strategic business plan and marketing plan will lead to much better results. You will also see these results more quickly when you’re focused and targeted with your plan.

In the event that your leadership doesn’t have a strategic plan, encourage them to write and implement one. Not only will it help you as the marketer/business developer, but it will also help everyone understand the overall direction and goals. By involving the employees in the process, results will also be better. Employee engagement is a big piece of any firm’s strategic plan. The leadership team, as well as others who are going to be challenged to grow the firm, need to be involved in the strategic planning process. You can ask all employees for ideas and feedback, but the strategic planning team will be ultimately responsible for writing and implementing the plan. The plan will then be communicated to all employees along with how they’ll play a part in the implementation.

If your leadership is not interested in writing and implementing a strategic business plan, you have two choices. You can leave the firm and find another firm that believes in the value of a strategic plan, or you can write your own marketing and business development plan without the strategic plan. As I mentioned earlier, this is more challenging but it can be done. After writing the strategic marketing plan, share this with your firm’s leadership. Hopefully, this will motivate them to get started on a business strategic plan! By showing them your written marketing plan, you’ve demonstrated the importance of setting future goals along with giving them the opportunity to change or give input on the marketing plan.

When I took a position with a previous employer, I stressed the importance of writing and implementing a strategic business plan. Within the first six months of my employment, I was given the authority to hire an outside consultant to help our team with developing a strategic business plan. Once this was done, I knew where I needed to focus our time and money for the marketing plan. This made my job and goal-setting much easier, because I aligned the marketing department with the overall business strategy. It was cohesive and consistent.

Regardless of where your firm stands with its business strategic plan, a marketing plan should be written and implemented. Having direction and goals provides  a road map to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. A marketing plan shouldn’t be independent from your firm but  rather a component of your overall strategic business plan. Conveying the value and importance of a marketing plan shows you are thinking about the future of the firm. This displays your dedication, your leadership skills, and your willingness to think about the growth of the firm. Write your strategic marketing plan and then produce results. Your leadership will be impressed by your commitment!

Lindsay Young, MBA, CPSM
nu marketing, llc
 

 

Guest Blog: Organizing Your Crazy A/E/C Life

This isn’t an article on work/life balance, which is important, but it’s about managing your work life and your day-to-day tasks and duties. (Many of these tips you can also use in your personal life.) Marketers and business developers have a lot on their plate and trying to manage it all can be difficult. There are some tips and tricks to managing your day.

Managing your supervisor is one of the best ways to organize your work life. That sounds funny considering you report to them. Being proactive and setting regular meetings will be instrumental to making your life much easier. When meeting with your supervisor, set realistic expectations for goals and tasks. If you don’t know what’s expected of you or have a good job description, then get it down on paper. Set yearly company marketing and business development goals (marketing plan) and share them with your supervisor. Ask them how they can support these goals and tell them how you plan to implement them. By communicating your role in the company your supervisor understands what you are spending your time on.

Setting boundaries with your supervisor and co-workers is also recommended. There are going to be times they need you to work early or late, which is expected at any position, but you shouldn’t consistently be working 60+ hours a week. Research has shown that working more than 50 hours a week decreases your productivity significantly. That’s not good for anyone. Determine if there are things in your day that you could delegate to others or eliminate from your list. Many times tasks that keep reoccurring on your list just need to be removed because they aren’t important. You also need to discuss with your supervisor what’s a “hot” project vs. what’s something that can wait.

For example, if Monday they come in and tell you to get all the resumes updated by Friday but then come in on Wednesday and tell you to update all the website copy, you need to ask them which one takes priority. Clear communication, setting expectations and boundaries allows you to be more in control. Ask questions and make recommendations. You must also be realistic but so should they.

Each day you arrive in your office, prioritize your To-Do-List, so you know what must be accomplished that day. You need to create multiple lists whether written down or digitally. I create a yearly list (goals), weekly lists, and then daily lists. Each of these lists can be modified and updated accordingly. Each morning, I write down the 3 things I MUST accomplish that day. Once I get through those three, then I move onto the next 3.

To stay organized, you can use a good old fashioned notebook or planner or there are a ton of digital options. I use my notes and reminders in Outlook along with an app called Errands. In the Errands app, I have created folders for different projects, set reminders, and email tasks to my clients or team members. The tools don’t matter. It just matters that you use them.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Turn off ALL email reminders on your desktop and phone.
  • Don’t check your email constantly.
  • Shut your door or put in earbuds to avoid interruptions.
  • If you are responding to emails outside of working hours, then set a delayed delivery notice (my mentor told me about this).
  • Turn off all social media notifications.
  • It’s okay to turn your phone on airplane mode when trying to complete a big project.
  • When working on a project, set a timer for 48 minutes and stay completely focused on THAT project. You’ll be amazed at how much you accomplish.
  • Stay focused on the one task at hand.

Being focused allows you to be more organized and get more done. Multitasking is a thing of the past and actually kills brain cells. Be smart! Stay focused!

If you have discovered you can’t get everything done over the course of 3-6 months, then it might be time to ask for some help. Write a job description of the things you don’t have time to do but are important, along with your weaknesses. If you hire someone that can complement what you are doing, then you’re adding strength to your team and filling a gap. This could be someone part time or full time.

Create your own personalized system that works for you. If the system doesn’t work for you, then you will not use it. It’s really about the process and determining how you work most productively and efficiently. Organizing your life does take some time, practice, and patience. With a little help you can be on your way to being more productive and efficient making the most of your time!

Lindsay Young, MBA, CPSM
nu marketing llc

 

 

 

Sponsor Spotlight: Hutton Construction

SMPS Wichita loves our sponsors and Hutton Construction is no exception. Founded in 1992 Hutton Construction’s projects are located throughout the region representing every major type of building for virtually every industry. Today their team approach with clients and designers continues to evolve into an integrated collaborative process unlike any other in the business. As a Silver sponsor again this year please be sure to thank Hutton Construction for their support of SMPS!

Guest Blog: Marketers Role in Recruiting and Retaining

Recruiting and retaining employees is something that has typical fallen in the laps of the human resources department but in today’s connected world, that has changed. Marketers can and do play a huge role in helping recruit and retain staff. Working closely with your HR professional is key to the success of a successful recruiting and retention campaign.

As many of you know, recruiting good talent has been a challenge the last couple of years. This is especially true with skilled labor and experienced talent. It’s a talent war out there! Part of recruiting and retaining employees includes your company culture, which is really your brand, not just your logo. Employees are where marketing starts. You can’t service customers without employees, so finding and keeping talent must be part of your marketing plan. In order for marketers to help HR professionals, they must build rapport with them. It’s part of the collaboration in recruiting and retaining employees.

People want to be in a happy, productive workplace while having a little fun, be challenged, and work hard. They want to see their company invest and volunteer in their local economy and community. Marketers can help with these initiatives and ideas by supporting and coordinating these community activities. Companies should allow employees to be engaged in the community at some level. This presents opportunities to work alongside customers, prospects, and industry partners and occasionally leading to projects.

Employee engagement is crucial to retaining gifted staff. This includes communicating in multiple ways (newsletters, memos, private social media pages, internal intranets, and company-wide meetings) with employees about the financial health of the company but also the company growth opportunities, projects in the pipeline, and changes in benefits (both good and back). Sometimes the owners or leadership team can’t divulge everything but they can keep them informed without giving them all the details. This makes employees feel like they are part of the company and something bigger than themselves. Communication is where marketing can and should play a role in helping facilitate that communication and discussion among employees. When employees are more engaged, they are more productive.

Employee recognition is also underutilized in many companies. By recognizing employees’ efforts in a variety of ways, it lends itself to building employee morale. This recognition could include an employee recognition program, picnics, team building activities, bonuses, flexible schedules, and quite honestly a good old fashion THANK YOU!

One retaining campaign I participated in for a construction company included job site tours. We took several office people, including our president, to the job site and visited the crews. When we arrived with yummy treats, we were warmly greeted by the crew. The crew then gave us a tour of the job site showing and telling us what they were doing in the field and how they were working alongside other partners and subcontractors. The crews were very excited to see office people engaged and interested about the project they were working on. It gave that crew a sense of pride. It quickly spread like wildfire throughout the labor and built rapport between the office and field, which is always a challenge in construction companies. We also set up a private Facebook to communicate with the employees and their spouses about company events, recognition of employees, and other related company news. Marketing and HR should work together on these strategies and campaigns.

From the recruitment standpoint, your staff should already be engaging in some of these tactics which include attending career fairs; being guest lectures at colleges, universities, technical schools, and high schools; provide on the job training for those skilled laborers; employee referral programs; and being active in your local community. There are ton of online sources to find help too, but these are usually less successful than the previous tactics mentioned. Word-of-mouth recruiting, like marketing, is still the most successful tactic of finding talent.

Potential employers look at what you’re doing from a marketing perspective. Employees want to see growth and excitement in the company. These potential employees will do their initial research through social media and visit the company website. They will then reach out to anyone they know at the company to get additional information about the company. Make sure your employees are telling your story the way you want it to be told. (This relates back to the retaining part above.) Marketers should craft this internal marketing message.

Marketers and human resource departments should be working hand-in-hand on these campaigns. Both have a tremendous amount of knowledge in their area of expertise and together can recruit and retain the best talent in the marketplace.

 

Lindsay L. Young has been in marketing and business development in the building industry for ten years. She has experience with small and medium sized firms and helping them build their businesses. Her knowledge includes strategic marketing plans and budgets, business development strategies, employee retention and recruitment, trade show implementation, customer and employee event planning, customer perception surveys, presentations, social media presence, and project management of branding and website redevelopment.

An active Pittsburg State University Gorilla Alumni, she received both her undergraduate and graduate degree in business management. Lindsay also contributes to the industry by serving on the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) board and holds the Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) through SMPS. She has co-chaired the SMPS Missouri Valley Regional Conference and is currently a member of the planning committee. She is currently Chief Difference Maker at nu marketing, a strategic marketing consulting company Lindsay started to help businesses increase their profits and build their business.

 

A Member Minute with Catherine Rocky

 

Our member spotlight this month is Catherine Rocky with Terracon Consultants, Inc.,  www.terracon.com. We asked Catherine to answer a few questions for us to help us get to know her.

When did you join SMPS?
I joined SMPS in April 2009 and earned the CPSM certification in December 2010

Are you a Wichita native? If not, where did you grow up?
I hail from and grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Where did you go to college? Degree? 
After three years at the University of South Dakota, I completed my B.S. in geological engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

Hobbies?
In my spare time I love to travel,  enjoy watermedia and oil painting and pastel drawing, writing articles for SWE Magazine, astronomy, and stress-relieving e-jigsaw puzzles

Favorite kind of music?
Classical but especially smooth jazz, catching the jazz series at Bradley Fair and making trips in the past couple of years to see favorite artists George Benson, Earl Klugh, The Rippingtons, and Acoustic Alchemy.

Favorite meal?
German or Japanese

What do you like about living in Wichita? 
Easy to get around and a short drive to major metropolitan areas

Married, kids, pets?
Married to college sweetheart and fellow engineer Bryan. No kids, no pets

Tell us a little bit about your position at Terracon?
Clients who have projects nationwide are given extra personal attention in my role as a Corporate National Accounts Manager.

Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-rocky-89972116/

 

Eby Construction Continues Gold Sponsorship

SMPS is excited to announce that Eby Construction is a Gold Sponsor again this year!  From their home office in Wichita, Eby serves many construction markets, including general building, manufacturing and industrial, higher education, and medical.  Eby’s high-quality performance is achieved through trustworthy, value-based service from leaders who empower and support their dedicated, creative team members. Their expertise lies in offering flexible full-service construction solutions that allow clients to focus on what is most important to them.

A big thanks to Eby for their generous support of our organization and for over 75 years “Building a Better Tomorrow” in our community.

To learn more about Eby, please visit: http://www.ebycorp.com/