A Simple Review Of The Marketing Plan Process

May

6

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The marketing plan process does not have to be complicated and it does not have to take forever. In this special combined episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast & The Marketing Nomad Podcast, Prit Madhukar (The Marketing Nomad) and I are going to share our thoughts on marketing planning to make it simpler for you.

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A Simple Review Of The Marketing Plan Process



Tim Fitzpatrick
The marketing planning process does not have to be complicated and it does not have to take forever. In this special combined episode of the Rialto Marketing Podcast and the Marketing Nomad Podcast, Prit Madhukar and myself are going to share our thoughts on the marketing plan process to make it simpler for you. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing where we believe marketing shouldn't be difficult. All you need is the right plan. Prit, welcome.

Prit Madhukar
Hi guys. I hope you guys are doing super awesome. I am so excited about this special combined episode with Rialto Marketing with, of course, Tim and a little bit about me, my pseudonym online is the Marketing Nomad. I am a marketing strategy consultant. I'm a YouTuber. I'm a podcaster. I'm an Etsy shop owner. I'm also a Nano influencer with a zest for life. And I'm very happy that you guys are going to be joining us as we do a simple review of our marketing plan processes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. And really quick. I'll just introduce myself for those for your audience that doesn't know me. Again, my name is Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. What we find is there are so many people that are just battling information overload when it comes to marketing and as a result, they're just not sure what those next steps, what the next right step should be to help them get from where they are currently to where they want to be. So we primarily work with B2B service based businesses and we help them create, implement and manage a marketing plan to communicate the right message to the right people so they can build results that last. So we get the fundamentals in place and then we can help people manage their marketing plan. We can take ownership of it, or we can coach them as they implement and manage their plans. So obviously what we're talking about today is near and dear to my heart, Prit.

Prit Madhukar
Yeah, same here. I'm so excited I can't even contain my excitement. This is one of my favorite topics too.

Tim Fitzpatrick
One of the things that I found so interesting was when we were talking about doing this and this whole concept and we were sharing some of our thoughts on the marketing planning process. Gosh, there's so many different ways you can plan. There's no one right way. But even though there were some differences in our planning, there were still a lot of similarities, which I find really interesting. I think you and I both take a very simple approach to planning, which I think is really important because when we over complicate things, it's the enemy of results.

Prit Madhukar
I completely agree with that. I think that especially with marketing, it can get complicated super fast. When you don't look at it, when you're not paying attention, suddenly things can just pile up and then get over complicated and then you end up messing up what you are doing right all along. And I think that, as you said, it's difficult actually to keep it simple and yet effective. And I think that's what we want to talk about in today's episode as well. How do you keep it simple and yet have that same power punch that a good marketing strategy and a good marketing plan should have?

Tim Fitzpatrick
I think one of the reasons why so many people over complicate marketing is one because there are so many different marketing channels and so many tactics within those channels today. The other thing is, I think because there's so much you could do, a lot of people feel like they need to be doing all these different things, and they take on too much at once. Like, you do not have to be everywhere to be successful. And I think too many people have this myth in their head where like, oh, my gosh, I've got to create content, I've got to be on social media, I have to have email marketing, I have to do paid ads, and it's just like, no wonder we feel overwhelmed.

Prit Madhukar
Absolutely. I also think that it's quite natural. As a business owner myself, I've definitely faced this where I see another business, and then they're doing something that works for them, and then I immediately feel that panic, that first response to seeing them do it. I was like, should I be doing that? Is that something that my business also needs to do it? That's such a natural human response. And then the marketer in me has to calm myself down and say, like, no, you're doing fine. You're just fine. Keep going on your path. So I get that initial reaction where you have to follow what other people are doing because what's working for them, you assume that it will work for you as well.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. I think you said something really important that I want to pull off here that touches on the benefits of having a plan. When you have a plan, you know what your priorities are and you have clarity. And when you have those two things, your stress levels go down, and it allows you to have the discipline to say, you know what? Next week, when the next guru says, I've got to be on Clubhouse or TikTok or I have to have a podcast or whatever, you can have the discipline to know, you know what? Right now, that's not one of my priorities. It doesn't mean no forever. It just means no right now. Until I get done with this, I'm not going to focus on that because that's where people spin their wheels. When they're like a squirrel chasing a nut and they chase the next tactic, they never build momentum. Would you agree with that?

Prit Madhukar
I agree 100%. As a business owner, I think the shiny object syndrome is definitely one of the biggest challenges. And having a strategy in place, having a plan in place allows me to keep myself on the same route that I started off with instead of trying to run away from it just because something shiny came along. As you said, when Clubhouse first came, I think everyone wanted to be on it. And I was like, no, because I already have a plan in place. I need to figure that out because I think when you keep hopping from strategy to strategy without completely implementing the strategy you have decided from the beginning, I think that you also don't completely see the results of the strategy that you are trying to implement in the first place. You're not giving it the time it deserves. You're not giving it the attention it deserves or the effort it deserves because your attention is just running wild all the same things. Have you seen that happening with your clients or even in your business?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So you touch on something really important here that touches on another benefit of having a plan. Having a plan gives you the discipline to think long term rather than short term. There are so many people that jump, like you said, from tactic to tactic, and they think that they're not working when in reality they're just not giving them enough time to work. I think there's too many people and look, this is marketing in general's fault because there's a lot of people out there that are like, yeah, we can get you we'll get you the top of Google in three weeks or whatever. They're over promising and under-delivering. That's not reality. Most things with marketing take time, and we need to give them that time to work. Now, that doesn't mean that you're not going to make slight tweaks. Right. Because you're always testing. But just because something hasn't worked yet doesn't mean that it's never going to work. It just means that you haven't found all the elements that are going to make it work. And frankly, even when something's working, it doesn't mean that it's always going to work either, right?

Prit Madhukar
Absolutely. I think that you touched up very important points. I think that marketing is all about consistent efforts over a long period of time. And I'm not saying that when your strategy hopping, you're not going to be fixing what's already there, because I think those are two very different things. Because when you implement the strategy, of course, as time goes, things change. Factors around you change. You probably have to go in and tweak something. It's different when you're tweaking rather than jumping ship onto a completely different strategy. So I think, Tim, you bring up that very, very important point over there. And I think that discipline of consistently showing up in your marketing efforts is what is one of the biggest benefits of a marketing plan.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Let's talk about our individual plans, their thoughts around it. I'm going to say print, ladies first. But if you want me to go first, I will. So I'm going to throw this out to you and we'll each talk about them.

Prit Madhukar
Sure. So I'm definitely very excited because when Tim and I spoke about our individual marketing plans before we came on this episode, we realized that there were some similarities, but there were also differences. And I think that's one of the best things about marketing is that there is no one way to go about something. There is no one way to plan. There's no one way to implement. But you also have to recognize what are your options. And that's exactly what we are doing today in today's episode. So I will be sharing my marketing plan, and Tim also will be sharing his marketing plan. And at the end of the day, we are going to take a look at individual marketing plans and give our own thoughts about each of them. So I'm quite excited to get into this. And Tim, shall I start?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, absolutely. Go for it.

Prit Madhukar
Okay. So basically my plan starts with figuring out what exactly is your entire year's goal. All right? So it's basically splitting your entire year's goal into four different goals, one for each quarter. That's how I usually do it for my business, and that's what I recommend to my clients as well. All right, so for example, I have four different goals. Maybe one is lead generation, one is brand awareness. And then maybe the third quarter, I want to do a little bit of testing here and there, and maybe the fourth quarter, I want to focus on business growth, marketing and business growth. So these are four different quarters with four different goals for each quarter. So that's how I usually started. However, my marketing plan doesn't go for the entire year at one shot. It just goes quarter by quarter. All right, so I have a specific goal for the quarter, and then I create a marketing plan for that quarter. Once that quarter is coming to a close, only then do I start planning for the next quarter. That's when I start creating the marketing plan for the next quarter. So even though you start out with a yearly goal and then you start out with goals for each quarter, you are only attacking your marketing with one quarter in mind. Okay. So that's what I wanted to start with. So basically the reason why I go with the whole yearly goal and then going for each quarter is something that Tim and I just spoke about, and that is to make sure that you are not going to be jumping ship or finding whatever is shiny along the way. You have a goal for that particular quarter, and your strategies have to revolve around that particular goal for that quarter. All right, so maybe like Tim said, maybe there's something new that's come up and maybe it fits quarter three. So you're going to put it on hold until you get to that quarter and make a decision about it. So having goals for specific quarter, having an overall goal for each quarter really helps you to focus your marketing efforts. Now, another thing that I do want to point out is when we are talking about my marketing plans, we are trying to fit systems into place. Okay. So if I say lead generation, it's not that the next quarter I'm not even going to think about lead generation because my goal is brand awareness. That's not how I go about it. When I say that this quarter's aim is going to be lead generation, it means I'm going to be putting systems in place to enable that lead generation to take off and consistently move forward, even when I am focusing on another goal for my business. All right, so that's something important that I wanted to talk about. So it's not just like, oh, lead generations this month and the next month, I don't have to worry about it. It doesn't work that way. It means that you are setting systems in place, that it keeps moving even without you giving that much attention to it. You have to, of course, give it attention, but it's not going to take up a huge chunk of your time. You have time to focus on other aspects that you want to build with respect to your marketing efforts. All right, so now that I have given you this overall view, my entire plan process is six steps. So I'm going to go over it pretty quickly. And the first step is to figure out what are you hoping to achieve. Okay. What exactly is the point of you creating this marketing plan? Because I think that without any purpose to your marketing plan, without a specific goal, without understanding where you want to end up, it's very difficult to find a starting point. So it's not just with respect to goals, you also have to figure out your intangibles as well. Is there going to be a difference in the way that you want people to view your product? You have to also figure out your milestones, your metrics. So it's a mixture of both your intangible and your tangible metrics and your goals for the entire quarter. All right, so what are you hoping to achieve is step number one. Now, step number two is to research. All right? And I know that that's pretty broad way of going about it, but I've understood that when I have to research my audience, I just ask myself, what exactly are they thinking right now? Okay. That's it. Try to understand what they are thinking. There are different ways to go about your research. I know people get scared when they hear the word research because they feel that they're not inherently researchers. I don't think that's true at all. I think that you can do research because research is just all about understanding. In this case, you want to understand your target audience. So a few ways that you can go about this is talk to them, ask them what it is that they think about your product, what it is that they want from your product, that you are not delivering, what it is that they expect from your business that you are delivering or you're doing right. You're not doing right. The little bit of gaps that you want to put across. You can also do surveys as well. Send out a quick email to your email list, put those surveys out there. And basically your job in this stage is to understand their journey. How is it that they figure out why they want to choose your product or why they want to move forward with your business? What are those reasons? What makes them come back to your business? If it is a repeat purchase, what makes them tell their friends and family how awesome your products and services are? Those are key things that you need to understand, not just that you also need to figure out. Like, for example, your goal is lead generation. And maybe there are people who are not applying for your lead magnet. They're not enrolling or subscribing for your lead magnet or your email newsletter. And that is a form of lead generation for you, right? So maybe you talk to them and ask them what they're looking for in your email newsletter that you are not delivering. It's basically about understanding them. So don't get worried when you hear the word research. It's all about just understanding the gap between where you are and where you have to be to achieve your goal. All right, so that is step number two for you. Now, step number three that I usually recommend is competitor research. Now, I have this sort of slogan that I go by and that is find out what your competitors are doing and make sure that you are I'm sorry, let me rephrase that. So find out what your competitors are not doing and make sure that you are doing that. And then make sure that you are aligning with what the industry is doing, because that's what your customers are expecting from you as well. So during competitor research, try to identify what are the strategies that they're implementing. If lead generation is your goal for the month, figure out how are the different ways that they are going about their lead generation. If it means that you have to maybe subscribe to their email list to check out what kind of content they're putting out for their email list, do a little bit of scoping. That's completely fine. And then check out what they're doing on their website. How are they speaking to their audience? And then when you identify what they're doing, try to figure out what they're not doing and what your audience is expecting them to do. That's where you create a unique position for yourself. That's where you have to fit in. And it's very easy because once you have done your research, your target audience research, you understand where they're coming from. And when you do your competitor research, you can understand where that gap is that your competition's not doing. And it's not necessarily tangible items. It can be absolutely intangible items. It can be something as simple as maybe they don't respond fast enough in their DMs, in their direct messages on social media. Maybe their website is a little bit confusing. Maybe the language on their website is complicated. There's so many different ways that you can analyze and figure out where you can swoop in and say, hey, I've got this covered. I think you guys should choose me. So that is number three for you. Number four is to actually formulate the strategy. So basically how I go about this is I do mind maps. It's a really fun way because there's so many things that are running in my head and there's so many different avenues to look at. So when you jot it down, when you mind map, try to figure out different ways that you can implement. For example, if lead generation is your goal. Okay. And maybe you have a blog that's out there. Maybe you have social media. See how you can connect your social media to your blog. Maybe you can figure out lead magnets for individual blog posts that you have, or social media pages where you can ask people to hop on your email list to get a particular lead magnet. And maybe if they don't want to choose the lead magnet, in the meantime, at least they're visiting your social media pages or vice versa. At least you're keeping them on your platform. All right, so when you are formulating a strategy or multiple strategies, of course, make sure that you are intermixing each of your platforms that are already available. For me mindmaps usually help me in this particular stage. All right. And then another thing that I usually ask myself at this point is how can you get to where you need to be? Okay, if, for example, lead generation is your goal? Let's take that, for example. Maybe you want to get 100 people on your email list. What are the strategies that you need to do to get there? Maybe you need to actually talk about your email newsletter, because one of the most common mistakes that I have seen businesses doing is that they want to grow their email list, but they're not talking about their email newsletter or why people should hop on their email list. So maybe you're not talking about it enough. Maybe people don't even know that there's another way to get information from you. So how do you get to where you need to be? That's a very important question that I ask myself when it's number four, and that is to formulate the strategy. All right, then we have number five, which is actually implementing the strategy because just planning is not enough. And I think that one of the most common things that I personally did when I first started as a business owner is that I was planning, planning, planning, and then I just kept planning. But it actually is a step where you have to execute it. It takes time. You need to understand your resources. You need to understand your limitations. You need to understand what works for your business and what does not work. So when you are implementing the strategy, there will be a slight disconnect between what you have formulated and what you are implementing. And that's completely okay. Because sometimes the resources that you thought you had, you probably don't have the limitations that you didn't know existed actually suddenly appear when you are implementing. So a little bit of disconnect, I always say that's completely fine, but it shouldn't be too drastic. A disconnect between you formulating your strategy and you executing it. So execution takes time, it takes patience, it takes effort, and that's probably the biggest part of this entire marketing plan process. Okay. So when you are implementing your strategy, you might find that you need to make a few tweaks. That's absolutely okay. As long as you're not completely jumping ship. So that is step number five for you. Now, step number six. And I think that this is probably one of the most overlooked steps in my entire marketing plan process, and that is analyze your results and then repeat the process again. And I think that most people, they implement, implement, implement, and it's fantastic. But at the end of the day, they're not sure if it's working. They're not sure if they're doing something right. They're not sure if they should tweak it. They're not sure if they should abandon that strategy, because that happens sometimes as well. So analyzing the results number six is very important. And of course, repeating the process, for example, a strategy is not working. Go over step number one, go over the entire process again. See where you've missed out. Maybe there's some part of your research that was incomplete, or there's some part of your strategy where there's a disconnect. Analyzing those results and repeating the process is a huge step that I personally think determines whether you are successful with your strategy or not. So, yeah, those are my six steps. It's a process. It's definitely a process. It takes time, but don't skip it, because having a clear plan, as Tim and I talked about, it's so much more easier to sustain your efforts long term. When you have a plan, you know where you're going. You know how to get there as well.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love it. This is really interesting. So six steps. I'm going to share my thoughts, and then maybe we can get in and ask each other some questions here. I think people will understand there's a lot of similarities in what we do. Your plan has a few steps that mine does not, but there's a really big reason why, because our plan is six steps. It is 90 days, but it's a little bit more tactical. Yours, I think, is a little bit more strategic. Ours is very tactical because the process that we use when we work with clients has a ton of similarities to your plan. So when we first work with clients, first we identify where they are to get a baseline. You can't create a plan to get where you want to go until you know where you're starting from. Then we focus on the fundamentals: target market, which you touched on and messaging, then we actually create the plan, and I'll walk you guys through that plan in just a minute. Once you have the plan, then you have to implement, which you touched on. It's one thing to have a plan, but if you don't execute, then nothing's ever going to happen. And then it's management. It's ongoing management and optimization like you touched on. You're never done. You're just constantly making tweaks, making adjustments, and getting it better and better and better. One of the things about planning that always stuck with me, and I believe I got this from the Slight Edge, which was written by Jeff Wilson. He said the plan you start with is not the plan you're going to end with. There is no perfect plan, but you got to just put a plan together and take action. It's from the actions that we learn and how we can improve. So our process has some crossover with your plan, which is why you don't see some of those things in our plan. So here's our plan. And I'm going to tell anybody that's watching or listening. There is a distinct reason why both of us have 90 day plans. Right? 90 days or whether you want to call it quarterly. It keeps plans simple. And 90 days is long enough to start seeing traction doesn't mean that you're going to see the exact results you want. But it is long enough to see traction, but it's short enough where you can start to make course corrections. I have always felt planning for a year is a joke. Like it's too long. The market is changing. Our businesses are changing. When you try to plan for a year at a time, things become far too complex. And most people that put together yearlong plans, they're changing them. Freaking three months in anyways. So why waste the time? Okay, so here's our six steps. First target market, I want to see at least a paragraph about each of your ideal clients. Who are your ideal clients? What do those people look like? This is demographics. It's psychographics. So there's numbers in there that start to paint a picture of what they're like. But then the psychographics start to dig into their problems, the results they're looking for, their thoughts, feelings, the aspirations that they have. All of those things start to paint a picture. The reason this is the first step in the plan is everything from a marketing standpoint starts with your who. You talked about this in the research phase of your plan, Prit. Who's your target audience. We got to know who the heck they are. We're not talking about the research part of it because we've already done that before we've gotten to this stage in the planning process. But so one to three ideal client types, you should not have more than that. You need to hone in. The second step is your goal. Another similarity to your plan. What's my goal for the next 90 days? In our case, this is a specific measurable goal. I intend to bring on five new clients in the next 90 days. This goal is one step close, getting you one step closer to your year long goal. Right? You have longer term goals. This is just a shorter term step to get you one step closer to your longer term goal. But one thing I do like to point out with a goal like this is the way it was described to me and it's always stuck with me is it's an outcome based goal. An outcome based goal, there are a lot of things that can get in your way of accomplishing that, even if you do everything that you can. The pandemic is a perfect example. Maybe you did everything you could and the pandemic hit and the wheels came off, right? So it's important to have a goal, but I think it's important also to not get so attached to something that you can't completely control. I think it's more important to focus on the actions you can take to help you get to that goal. Third step, what is my budget and what are my resources? What this step is doing is it's helping give us an idea of what we have to work with. If you don't know what you have to work with, you may take on too much or too little in your plan. Either one of those is not a good thing. So do I have $500 a month? Do I have $50,000 a month? And then from a resources standpoint, this is staff. Do I have time as the business owner to take some of my time and put towards marketing or do I have staff that can do it? How much time do they have and what capabilities do they have? If I want Joe to do LinkedIn for me and he's got 5 hours a week and Joe is like, what the hell is LinkedIn? Well, then there's a problem there. We either need to level up Joe's skills or we need to find somebody else to do that. But that's all we're doing here in this third step is what do I have to work with? The fourth step is what's my current plan? This is just giving us that baseline of hey, what have we put in place and what do we continue to do from a marketing standpoint so that we have an idea of where we're starting from. That's all we're doing here. You and I both know this. A lot of people may not even have a current plan. That's okay. If you're using this template for yourself, all I want you to do is just write down all the things that you're currently doing that you continue to do, or that once you put in place, they're now active. The fifth step is what's your next 90 days look like. What are my priorities for the next 90 days? This is what's going to help you give you clarity, and it's what's going to help you eliminate all the noise and the distraction that comes at you over the next 90 days. These are the things that you are going to take action on. The 6th step is metrics. What metrics am I going to track? People don't know whether things are working in their marketing because they have not outlined metrics. They either haven't outlined metrics or they're tracking the wrong metrics. But the metrics are what's going to tell you what's working or what's not. Now I'll give people just a quick tip here with metrics because you and I both know this. There are so many metrics with marketing, but there's also vanity metrics that don't mean anything. And people also, I think try to track too many metrics. I think this is the easiest place to start. How many leads am I generating, where are they coming from and how many of those are converting to customers? If you start to track those three metrics, once you get those dialed in, you're in the habit one, you'll be armed with those three metrics with a lot of different stuff. You're going to know what your conversion rates are. You're going to know how many leads you need to generate one customer. You're going to know where they're coming from. So it's going to give you an indication of what marketing channels are actually working for you. And then from there, there are metrics you can track by marketing channel or tactic. You can start to I think the ones that make the most sense after those three are lifetime value of a customer and your costs to acquire a customer, because I think those five metrics are key, and then you can start to go out from there. But that's our 90 day marketing plan. So you can see it's a little bit more tactical than what you use print. But there's a reason for that. All the stuff that you're talking about in your plan, we do in our identify and our focus steps in our proven process. So it's not that we're not doing what you're doing. We're just doing them slightly differently. But they're all still there, which should be telling people that all of these things are incredibly important.

Prit Madhukar
Yes. I also agree that one thing that I think there's a fundamental difference between our marketing plans is that yours is more focused on solving a problem. And correct me if I'm wrong. When you say figuring out what is a specific measurable goal, it usually indicates that there's a problem there and you want a specific measurable goal to either figure out your position or where you want to be. Whereas in my plan, I think it's more about the ongoing strategy. There's not a particular problem that my customers or my clients are looking to fix, but it's more about getting those systems in place so that in the long term they can figure out what's going right, keep it going and give them a starting point to have something that's ongoing. So I think that's a fundamental difference between my plan and your plan. But at the same time, I will acknowledge that in certain situations where I have had to consult with my clients and stuff like that, I have actually used your method because when there was a specific problem that I was brought on to fix, then yes, I definitely have used your plan. So I think that's a really interesting way to let people know that there is no one way to go about it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
No, there's not. But I think after going through this, I think there's more similarities than differences between our plans, which I think is really interesting. You also just touched on something that I think I want to pull out here because it's easy to overlook. Both of our plans, this is an ongoing process like you are not done at the end of the 90 days with either one of these plans, you're evaluating and looking at what happened. You're doing a debrief or a download of what happened with the plan. What course corrections do we need to make moving forward? You update the plan and then you go at another 90 day sprint.

Prit Madhukar
Yes, absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So I want to ask you a question that I get often when I start to talk about planning, which is how do I know what to focus on as I put my first plan together? What are your thoughts on that, Prit?

Prit Madhukar
So what to focus on? So when you are putting your plans in place? And I think Tim also brought up a very important point that most people who are not inherently market as they don't probably know that they already have some strategy in place. Even setting up a social media account and posting on those accounts, talking about your products, even those are mini strategies you might not consider them to be. So I think a good starting point when it comes to marketing because like I said, it gets complicated very fast. And when I'm talking to my clients, there's just one thing that I tell them, and that is how are people going to find you? That's it. Keep asking yourself this question. And the answer to that always is about creating paths for people to find you. At the end of the day, I really think that that is what marketing is all about. We want people to find our product. We want people to find our services, find our business. So how is it that you are going to achieve that? Yes, we have fancy names for that. Yes, there are high level things that go into that. Yes, there are complex processes. But at the end of the day, if you watch every single step that our marketer does or a business owner does, it's all about creating paths for people to find you and your product. So I think just keeping that in your mind, when you feel a little overwhelmed that things are getting complicated or you don't have a starting point, then I think it's just important to know that it's all about figuring your path, that's it. Figuring different paths for people to find you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love that. And I will add on to that. I think when you are looking at your first plan, I think it makes a ton of sense. You need to focus on target market first. If you don't know who your ideal clients are and really understand them, that has to be in your first plan, because everything from a marketing standpoint starts there. And then from there your message. If you don't want to get the market down, then you have to have a message that is, in their words, that is going to gain their attention and their interest. Then from a tactical standpoint, the easiest place to start in your plan is looking at what is already working in your business. If you've been in business for a while, something is working, but odds are you have not completely optimized that process and or you have gaps. So look at that process. If all your business is coming from referral, look at your referral process. A lot of people are like, my gosh, all my business is coming from referral, but I don't even have a referral system. I'm not asking for referrals. So let's put a system in place. Oh, my gosh, I have a gap here. Let's fill that gap. Let's do more of what's already working. That's the lowest hanging fruit, I think, for any business is getting that dialed in, then you can start to expand out into other marketing channels or other tactics. One of the things we touched on Prit in the beginning here was like, you don't have to be everywhere.

Prit Madhukar
That's true.

Tim Fitzpatrick
But the reality is if you want to scale your business and you want to have diversity in your lead Gen channels, which you should want, otherwise you're going to go through peaks and valleys. You do at some point need to start to expand and generate leads from more than just one marketing channel. But why jump into something new when you haven't already optimized what's already working? So those are just my thoughts on that.

Prit Madhukar
Absolutely. And Tim, I just want to add upon that when I mentioned creating paths, I didn't mean creating new paths. I mean, it's not always about creating new paths, because sometimes you have a website, you have a blog, and you have a social media platform, but you've never interlinked them both, all three of them together. So people who are coming on your website have no idea where to go next to find out more information. And it's all about creating different paths, interlinking the paths that already exist so that they can find you and they can stay on your platforms or your online platforms, of course, a little bit longer than they would, because when they're on your platform, it means they're not on someone else's. Just as simple as that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Absolutely. This has been so much fun. Do you have any last minute thoughts you want to leave people with today?

Prit Madhukar
Yes. I mean, I definitely wanted to ask you because I think that research is a little bit of a shaky ground for a lot of business owners because as marketers, we've definitely had a lot of training. I know that half my MBA was spent in teachers teaching me how to do proper research. But when it comes to business owners, I feel like they are a little hesitant when it comes to research. So what are maybe some of your thoughts on how to go about doing research the right way? And what are some of the common mistakes that you see business owners making with their research process?

Tim Fitzpatrick
This is a great question and thank you for following up on this because you touched on this in your plan. Yes, I think that research is so much it's not easy, but I think it is a lot simpler than it used to be. Like Google is your friend when it comes to this stuff. You touched on where we start, which is client interviews. You need to figure out who your ideal clients are and interview those people. That is the easiest place to start because as business owners, sometimes we're too close to the fire. We can't see the forest through the trees. We do not think objectively about our business, but our clients can communicate our value and how we help in a way where when you hear them say it, you're like, oh my God, why didn't I see that? Well, it's because you're too close to the fire. Interviewing clients is the first place that we recommend, just like what you said in your plan. From there, I think there are a lot of different places online that you can go. And you touched on some of these: social media groups, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups. There are groups for every darn industry, every darn niche. If you get into those groups and start interacting, look at the questions that they're asking. You ask questions. You can gather all kinds of information that way. You have answer sites, places like Reddit, go on to Reddit or Quora. There are all kinds of threads for any topic and you can see what people are asking and talking about. So that's a great place. You can just do Google searches, start doing Google searches. All kinds of information will pop up there. So if I'm trying to find marketing problems that management consultants are having, I go to Google and I just go management consulting, marketing problems or common marketing problems for management consultants, just start tweaking that and playing with it. When you do Google searches, Google will tell you it'll give you suggested keywords as you start to type in and down at the bottom it'll also show you other common or related searches as well. Associations in your target market. Associations do a lot oftentimes will create like yearly surveys, things like that. So there's tons of information there. Online reviews. If you are just starting out, you won't have any reviews. But guess what? You got a ton of competitors. Go to your competitors and look at their online reviews. Because what do people talk about in online reviews? They talk about the problem they had, how the company helped, the benefits or results that they're experiencing. So you can get so much information from there. Is that a good enough list to start?

Prit Madhukar
Oh my God. I was just going to tell everyone who's listening that I don't know about you, but I was definitely taking down notes. I think we got like ten or twelve of them. That is an amazing and comprehensive list. I think that is definitely going to make anyone listening to this podcast episode feel comfortable. Like, hey, there are actually this many places that I can go to, so that's super awesome.

Tim Fitzpatrick
And you don't have to go to all those either, right?

Prit Madhukar
Yes, absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You don't have to go to all those, but you can. I mean, the information is there and it's at our fingertips. Like it was not 15 or 20 years ago.

Prit Madhukar
Yes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Can you imagine having to do this type of research without it?

Prit Madhukar
I was not even there during that time. And I can't imagine how it was. It must have been really hard at that point.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Gosh so hard. It's not nearly that hard. It takes time, which is why it goes back to that distinction where it is simple. But it's not easy, right? When I think of easy, I'm like it's not work. Simple is it's easy to understand, but it does take work to get it done.

Prit Madhukar
True. I absolutely, 100% agree.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Thank you for asking that question, because I was going to touch on that. I was going to follow up with you on that because research is such an important part of it. That's how you're going to really get into the heads of your ideal clients is by doing that research, having those conversations. And a big hurdle for a lot of people that are just starting out is I don't have clients that I can talk to. That's okay. Now, I will say you can interview people in your target market, but gosh, it's a lot harder to get conversations with people that don't know you. So it does take quite a bit more work. But if you know people in the market or you can have people make introductions and you can get a warm introduction, just have an initial conversation. These conversations, they're not long. When you talk to people, it's ten or 15 minutes. With the right questions, you can gather a lot of really helpful information.

Prit Madhukar
Yeah. I think, Tim, you bring up a very important point there that even if you may not have clients at the moment, it's understandable sometimes the stage that you are in. You might not have had a substantial amount of customers, but there are other people that you can talk to. There are different avenues that you can find out. There their associations, as Tim brought out a very, very valid point. There are groups that you can go to and post questions, research questions, as long as you follow the community guidelines and stuff like that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So we got a comment that came in that I want to just pull up here. So thank you. This is from Kuwa, David. I was going to try and pronounce his initial name, and I'm going to totally botch it. So, David, thanks for bringing this in. The idea of quarterly 90 day planning resonates so much. I'm curious, though, if this is for a certain company size. Thoughts? So I'll tell you mine and then Prit certainly jump in. But to me, the way I have structured planning, frankly, I think the way Prit has structured planning, I don't think it matters how big you are. Like, you can make this as simple or as complex as you want. It's just, for example, in the plan I use, if you have $100,000 a month budget and a team of ten people, well, then what goes into step five of the current marketing plan in your next 90 days is going to be a whole lot more stuff. So it's just to me, if you're a larger company, you have a larger budget, then more is going to go into your plan. But the general framework can scale to a much larger company if you choose to do so. What are your thoughts on that, Prit?

Prit Madhukar
I 100% agree, because I have definitely like I said, I think that the only difference between our plans is yours is tactical and mine is strategy. But at the same time, if you factor in company size or even if it's a solopreneur one person working out a marketing plan, I think both of our plans can actually be implemented. So I think that while you're working through the marketing plan, you will have to factor in your company size, figure out your limitations, figure out your resources, as Tim said. But both the plans are not specific to the company size.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Cool. I love that. David, if you're still listening.

Prit Madhukar
Thank you, David. That's such an awesome question.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, that was a great question. So any last minute thoughts before we close things out here, Prit?

Prit Madhukar
Well, I think to wrap up this entire episode, I think I do want to mention that you have to find a marketing plan that works for your business. You have two similar yet a little bit different marketing plans that you've heard today. But what applies to your business is something that you have to figure it out. You need to understand where you are at. You need to figure out different ways of how you can go about it. There's no one way to go about a marketing plan, even though many of our I think steps kind of related to each other because those are really key and important. But at the same time, if you want to do it by yourself, understanding the marketing plan that works for your business is a really important step because marketing plans I'm sure Tim so sorry for that noise.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, it's all good.

Prit Madhukar
Yeah. So I'm sure Tim will agree is that even though Tim's structure is six steps and my structure is six steps, there have been times where I'm sure Tim and I have had to tweak it according to our clients needs, figure out, add additional steps, bring in more things because there were more factors in play. And that's what we do as marketing consultants. So there's a generic marketing plan and then we come in as marketing consultants, figure out how to modify it to your business. But of course, when you are listening to this episode, one of the key steps that you have to recognize is whatever marketing plans that you hear, either from this episode or anything that's out there, make sure that it actually applies to your business. So I think that is my last message. I mean, there's no right way. There's no one way. We can't tell you that until we actually take a look at your business and figure out where you are at.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I'll piggyback off of that. There is no perfect plan. The right plan for you is the one that you can understand and you'll actually use and implement. So this comes up all the time with what's the best email marketing software or whatever it may be the one you'll use. Okay. Because if I tell you and you don't use it, then it's not serving you. So I totally agree with you, Prit, there's no one right way. You just have to pick the way that makes sense to you that resonates with you that you'll actually use. There are different paths to get to the same destination. Prit this has been so much fun.

Prit Madhukar
Yeah. Tim, sorry. Just one last sentence. I also have to mention that you have to work to your strengths. I think that's one thing that most businesses forget that you have a set of strengths work to it. Tweak the plan according to your strengths. So yeah, that's my final sentence there.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's your final word.

Prit Madhukar
Yes. Absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. Prit, where can people learn more about you?

Prit Madhukar
All right so you can definitely visit my website. It's themarketingnomad.co and you can catch me on Instagram. I'm more informal there. I'm usually showing behind the scenes of my life as an entrepreneur so it's the marketing Nomad of course as Tim talked about in the beginning of the show my podcast is the marketing Nomad show where I give business marketing and mindset tips to business owners. So one of the few places that you can find me where can you find me as The Marketing Nomad, probably everywhere.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome and I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. Just want to give people a quick tip if you go to growthmarketingplan.com if you want to download the 90 day marketing plan template that I talked about in this episode with sample plans all the tools downloads resources you need are right there so go to growthmarketingplan.com. You can find me at rialtomarketing.com R-I-A-L-T-O marketing.com. Prit, this was so much fun. This combined episode the Rialto Marketing podcast and the Marketing Nomad podcast. We may have to do this again.

Prit Madhukar
Yes. Definitely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes.

Prit Madhukar
So till next time thank you guys for listening all the way up until here.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, we appreciate you. You guys take care.

Prit Madhukar
Bye guys.


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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