What has the Panama Canal got to do with Marketing?
If you’ve ever headed through a canal system, you have seen the locks that variously raise or lower the boat or ship you are on, so you can pass between two bodies of water that are at different elevations.
Well I’d like you to imagine your business is like that boat, and your marketing plan is being completed in stages. At each stage you have to wait until the lock fills up with water until you can move to the next stage. Except in the case of your marketing plan, that water is information or knowledge, and the lock is but one step in our R.A.P.I.D. Marketing Model.
I published a decision tree or flowchart on our marketing model the other day, and it generated quite a bit of interest and activity.
So I wanted to comment on this a little further. Why is a marketing plan done in stages? Why can’t you just jump in and start ‘promoting’ to your customers or prospects? What is the risk in promoting before you do research? Why do lots of companies fail in the first couple of years of operation?
The simple answer to all these questions is that ‘its the way life works’ – you have to understand something before you can do it competently. There is no way anyone is going to let you in a five star kitchen if you’ve never boiled an egg. Or let you perform brain surgery if you’ve never picked up a scalpel. The universe operates on competence – the people who get paid the most (well usually anyway) are the ones with the most experience and the highest skills in a particular field – division 1 footballers get paid more than those in local leagues, international tennis players get paid more than journeymen.
Why shouldn’t it be the same in business?
The fact is you cannot promote to customers(even though 85% of small business think they can) without understanding their needs. You won’t gain market share unless your offer is of value, and you can’t understand value without examining the marketplace you operate in, observing the people who buy stuff in that market, or checking out what the competition is doing.
You start with RESEARCH in order to know as much as possible about the market, customers and competition.
You ANALYSE your business for it’s ability to offer something of value in that market. And to understand potential trends that will affect your business in the future.
You position your business, set objectives and work out what resources you’ll need in your marketing PLAN.
When you know all this you can IMPLEMENT your marketing campaigns.
And when implemented you DETECT(measure) all campaigns to find out what works to deliver you sales, growth, market share, reputation and so forth in the market you are operating in.
And because each of these 5 stages is a LOCK – you CANNOT move onto the next until you’ve filled the existing stage with enough knowledge and information to move one.
And that is what the Panama Canal has in common with marketing.
As you’ve probably heard or seen me say many many times – like cooking you need a recipe, ingredients and a process.
And that is just the way it is.
Our process, and all the tools you’ll ever need to write your own successful marketing plan are available as a subscription right now(very exciting!!!) at
Enjoy the read, and start your own marketing journey now.
The Marketing Chef ®
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