Building Your Strategic Marketing Plan
First in a Three-Part Series on How to Bring Customers Though the Door
By Brandon Willey, CEO, FetchRev
Who Are You and What Do You Want to Achieve?
Sam Walton, the king of low-price commerce, once said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
And he was correct. Your family entertainment center has no chance of survival if people don’t walk through your doors, consistently and predictably. You’ve built it and sure, if you’re in an underserved market, they will come — but my money is on the high probability that you are battling with some form of competition for your guests’ attentions. It may not be another FEC but it could be the movie theater around the corner, neighborhood skate park, the Oculus Rift little Johnny just got for his birthday, or worst of all — just sheer leisure apathy.
You want to draw those fun-loving human beings into your center and give them the experiences that you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into to create. You want to create repeat customers and generate consistent foot traffic, right? So what do you do?
You make a plan. Then, you dig in and get dirty.
Over the course of the next three RePlay issues, we will cover six critical steps toward building your strategic marketing plan in order to achieve world domination:
1. Who are you?
2. What do you want to achieve?
3. Who are your customers?
4. How will you connect with them?
5. What will you say to them?
6. How are you doing?
This is going to be fun! So, let’s dig in and get all strategic in here!
Hold Your Tongue and Take a Step Back
Now, before you go and buy a megaphone to start shouting at anyone that will listen, you have to figure out who you are or, more specifically, what you want your FEC’s very existence –– not just your name and brand –– to mean to you, your employees and your customers. This is achieved by pulling together the leaders of your company, stepping back and defining your mission, crafting your values and setting your vision together as a team. Simon Sinek, the TEDx sensation who set the leadership world on fire with his “Start with Why” call-to-arms, preaches, “Most of us live our lives by accident. Fulfillment comes when we live our lives on purpose.” Amen, brother.
He further expounds on this idea with the exhortation that we should build our business from the inside out in three concentric rings he calls the “Golden Circle.” The inner soul of your business and the bullseye of his circle is the Why — the purpose. This purpose defines your cause. It defines what you believe. It defines why you built an FEC in your community. You simply can’t answer any other question if you can’t answer the Why. You do not pass Go. Period.
As an example, at FetchRev our very purpose is built around our fanatical “belief in the dream of business ownership, and that it is our responsibility to create repeat customers and generate predictable revenue for business owners.”
Disney exists “To Create Happiness for Others.”
And Scene75 believes, “We exist to save communities we care about from boredom.” Now that’s straight up inspiring and defines everything they say, every facility they build, and each action they take within.
Once you’ve laid down a solid, purpose-filled foundation for your own company, you can build out the rest of the frame that defines who you are. That next layer is the How — the Process — the specific actions that are taken to realize the Why.
How is your mission manifested within your facility? How do your guests feel when they walk in the doors? How do your employees treat your customers? How do kids feel when they have a birthday party at your center? Answering questions like “What do you value and what sets you apart?” will help to guide you along this essential stage of the journey.
Then, after you’ve mastered the Why and the How you can finally define the What — the result. This is the proof in the pudding that you’ve delivered on your purpose; that you’ve accomplished your Why. What do you do? What experiences do you provide? What have you created? What is the attraction mix you’ve chosen to best serve your mission?
Disney’s longstanding purpose has been “To Create Happiness for Others” so Walt Disney went and built the “Happiest Place on Earth,” a straightforward and beautifully pure manifestation of a relatively audacious purpose. Mic drop.
Turning the Invisible into the Visible
Okay, let’s say you’ve now established your Why, How and What, and are ready to bring your mission and vision to your local community. Whoa pardner! Aim before you shoot! Let’s first take a page out of Tony Robbins’ playbook who says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
Before you initiate any marketing efforts it is important to set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART) revenue, strategic, operational, and marketing goals. Gino Wickman writes, in his book Traction, that every business should first establish a 10-year target, then a three-year picture, and lastly a one-year plan, each with clearly defined measurables and key performance indicators that quantifiably answer: “What does my business look like at each stage.”
Here are a few examples of what SMART goals might look like for your FEC as you flesh out your one-year plan:
1. To meet our gross sales goal of $______ this year.
2. To increase group sales by 10 percent during off-season.
3. To introduce our fundraisers to all schools by year end.
4. To book 30 percent more birthday parties over last year.
As you consider your first strategic revenue and marketing goals, it is important to keep the list to a maximum of five that you plan to actively accomplish during any given period. Unfortunately, the old idiom “biting off more than you can chew” is a folly that ambitious entrepreneurs often fall susceptible. It’s one that will hamstring and frustrate even the most efficient business owner.
Have too many initiatives that you want to tackle? Create a backlog of SMART goals so that as you achieve one goal you can replace it with another from the list.
The End of the Rainbow
This is rewarding and fun work, right? And yes, this is work. Defining your purpose and establishing your mission is downright meaty and maybe even a little emotionally heavy lifting work. This is not for the faint of heart. But once you’ve pushed and plowed through, and shared the results with your family, friends, employees and customers, you’ll find a renewed sense of passion and excitement and direction behind every SMART goal that you, your leaders and your team set out to dominate and crush!
In the next article in this three-part series, we’ll determine who your customers are and how you will connect with each of them. Get ready!
With more than 12 years of executive leadership in sales, marketing and business operations, Brandon Willey has developed broad knowledge of the local digital marketing ecosystem with extensive experience in revenue growth, email and search marketing, social media, retargeting, geo-targeting, segmentation, automation, machine learning and more. To reach him, email [email protected].