Today, having a flight plan, or what is called an integrated marketing plan, that unites many of the actions mentioned earlier is no longer an option, but a necessity.

Imagine this first business day after Super Bowl Sunday you are sitting in your finely decorated office, reading your organization’s financials and wondering what results you will receive from your $3 million 30-second Super Bowl commercial?

For the majority of mid to small business owners this scenario is a BHAD (big hairy audacious dream) and will probably not happen.

Yet it is an interesting question to consider.

Whether you invest millions or hundreds to just tens of dollars, you as the small business owner to chief executive officer probably have expectations around those marketing dollars.

Those expectations center around some sort of result or results from your investment.

Marketing is truly an investment when it yields pre-determined results.

The challenge for effective marketing to deliver a positive return on investment is that the results in many cases are:

  • Not pre-determined
  • Not measured

Years ago a colleague, Bill Napolitano, created a great story entitled “Fly High Airlines” where “Captain Wing It” was sort of in charge.

His actions, what I have since dubbed “spraying and praying,” would have most people running for the exit doors because this was the last airline any person with common sense would consider flying.

Today this story could easily be re-written with a new title of “Fly High Marketing” and Captain Wing It would still be sort of in charge.

The marketing actions might include:

  • A few tweets on Twitter
  • A Facebook posting
  • Writing a blog once in a while
  • Purchasing an Internet banner advertisement
  • Securing some paid advertising space through the traditional marketing vehicles of print, radio or television
  • Printing up some glossy and expensive brochures designed by a marketing or advertising firm
  • Purchasing some logo wear or promotional items such as mugs, hats, pens
  • Sharing a 30-second elevator pitch at a local business networking event
  • Renting a booth at a national or local trade show
  • Speaking once in a while at civic organizations
  • Issuing a press release when you remember to do so
  • Becoming a member of a local Chamber of Commerce

Marketing is the first step of the sales process with a two-fold goal:

  • To attract attention
  • To make a friend.

Attracting attention can be very expensive or inexpensive. Making a friend can be easy or difficult.

When your compelling marketing message is honed and delivered to your right target market focusing on your potential ideal customer based upon both demographics and psychographics, your expectations for specific results should be realized.

For example, for X amount of dollars the business can expect the following results:

  • Inbound sales leads from Internet marketing activities
  • Outbound sales leads from networking to tradeshows
  • Qualified sales leads from all activities
  • Traffic to the website
  • A specific number of earned sales

A sales lead can be from a suspect (anyone) to a prospect (someone with potential interest) versus a qualified sales lead where all of the following criteria are met:

  • Decision maker
  • Allocated budget
  • Want and need
  • Urgency to take action
  • Commitment to take action

Today, having a flight plan, or what is called an integrated marketing plan, that unites many of the actions mentioned earlier is no longer an option, but a necessity.

This well researched, goal-driven action plan helps to change your role of Captain Wing It to Captain Focus It and encourages your potential customers to consider your airline (solution) instead of having them running for the nearest exit.

About the author

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Leanne Hoagland-Smith has over 25 years in sales. Her true joy is selling and…

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