“Help, I need to write a marketing plan for my angel investor – in 60 minutes”

This morning I got a call from a friend in South Australia who needs a marketing plan- FAST.

You see, he wants funding from an angel investor (yes, mining related), and the angel wants to see a plan.  But he only had a couple of hours before the meeting.  What to do?

I’m not a fan of the angel investor strategy – seems to me they take too much equity and not enough risk, but that’s just me.   What this guy needed was….

The 60 Minute Marketing Plan

Now I’ve seen some magnificent marketing plans written in a paragraph, and some dreadful ones in bug folders. Now I reckon any angel investor worth his salt won’t want more than a good, competent short plan.  The big tomes are for multinationals who like that sort of stuff.  Keeps the top brass busy, right?

As I said to Chris, the secret is this:

Great marketing plans are not about length, they are about how well you understand your customer and your business. 

If you know both, you can write a marketing plan in 60 minutes or less.  No sweat.

(And if you don’t know your business and customer by now your plan will be rubbish no matter how long it is, so nothing to lose there!)

The secret to marketing planning the easy way is to leave the writing bit till last. You see, the sequence of reading a marketing plan is very different to the process of preparing one.  If you try to prepare a plan in a strict order, you’ll find it very hard to do.

But if you spend even a small amount of time on these steps, you’ll do better than 99% of people who are sitting down to write a plan.

Anyway here’s what I suggested my friend do… see what you think…

The times indicated are rough, and I don’t think it matters which order you choose either.

How to write a marketing plan in 60 minutes

Step 1.       Getting the head in the zone  (10 mins)
Write down your objectives by looking at the multipurpose brief on the Turning Leaf website.  Use bullet points.  Don’t be obsessive, just smash through them.

Step 2.    Customers (10 mins)
On index cards, write down the name of your ideal customer (my friend has 3 segments, so he might need 3 rather than 1).  Then write what their biggest PROBLEM is, and next to that, your company’s SOLUTION.  Use a big fat pen so you have to use simple words and short statements.

Step 3:   The Big 4 Questions (5 mins)
Ask yourself these 4 questions about your business:

  • What would I kill to do?
  • What might kill us if we don’t?
  • Who decides when this job is done?
  • How will they know it is done?

Write down the answers.  Bullet points are fine.

Step 4.  Goals (5 mins)
Write down 3 marketing goals you would like to achieve in the timeframe of the plan.  Try to express them in terms of the customers you identified in step 2.

Step 5:  Customer behaviour change (5 mins)
In order to achieve these goals, what customer behaviours do you need to change?  Write them down.  Then ask: are there any barriers to making this change? (barriers can be physical – such as lack of distribution – or mental, such as a perceived problem).
Write them down.

Step 6: Activities (10 mins)
Consider, what are the 3 things you can do that will be most likely to make the behaviour change you identified?  Write them down on cards under the heading “ACTIVITIES”
Hint – the most powerful activities are emotional and distinctive, and you should try to think about what you need the customer will see, hear, taste, smell or feel.

Step 5.  Measurement (5 mins)
Write down how you (or the great decider from step 3) will know when each activity is successful.  Put this under the heading MEASUREMENT.

Step 6:  Sense Check (10 mins)
Revisit your product or service in the light of this work and check over the famous 4Ps:

  • Product – is your product or service right for the target.  Does it solve a problem?
  • Place – can your target get hold of your product or service?
  • Pricing – is your pricing right for the behaviours you are trying to change?
  • Promotion – how will you get seen

Step 7:  Write it up (10mins – hmm, OK, you may need 20…)
Prepare a template with one paragraph for each of the following:

  • Summary (do this last)
  • Target Market (Who are we after?)
  • Customer Need (What problem do they have?)
  • Our Solution  (How do we improve their life?)
  • Product or service mix (Key information on product, pricing, distribution)
  • Marketing Goals  (What are we trying to do?)
  • Activities(What will the customer see?)
  • Measurement (How will you assess progress?)

Now I reckon your average angel investor won’t want much more than that. In fact, I bet many will ask for the long marketing plans to be summarised in a page anyway.  I’d definitely ask for a summary if I was an angel investor.  If you can’t explain your marketing plan in a page, it’s too complicated for my money.

Nah, don’t bother with a SWOT and all that normal corporate mumbo-jumbo.  Spend the time thinking about your customer and how you help them.  Much more useful..

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