A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: What is your marketing Plan B?

Have a Plan B or Plan C ready to go in your marketing, Graham McGregor writes. Photo / 123RF
Have a Plan B or Plan C ready to go in your marketing, Graham McGregor writes. Photo / 123RF

One of the things I've learned in my 57 years of living is that things don't always go according to plan.

This was brought home to me vividly in early November last year. I had just completed the Lake Taupo 160km cycle event for the second time. I had trained hard for six months and I was feeling fit and healthy and strong. As a result I took 2 hours of my previous time.

A week after my Lake Taupo event I went for an easy cycle ride with some friends and struck an unexpected problem in the first 10 minutes.

My heart raced, I felt sick and queasy and breathless and I had to stop my ride. This had never happened to me before and I was mystified as to why I felt so bad. (Especially when it was a super easy ride and not hard.)

I saw my doctor who booked me in to see a heart specialist. After extensive tests they confirmed that I had a heart condition called Atrial Fibrillation.

This means my heart beats randomly and makes it very difficult to do any type of physical exercise. Any time I tried to do something physical like walking up the stairs my heart would race and I would get breathless. I enjoy being physically active so doing nothing was not a good option.

My heart specialist explained they had three ways to treat my heart condition. (A Plan A, Plan B and Plan C as it were.)

Plan A was for me to take heart medication that was designed to slow my heart and put it back into normal rhythm.

I started on the heart medication in mid-November and 4 weeks later it started working. My heart was back to normal; I felt great and could do any type of physical exercise with no breathlessness or discomfort. I was back on my bike and really enjoying it.

Unfortunately plan A only worked for a few weeks.

And a few days ago my heart problem came right back. My heart beat was erratic; I got breathless with any type of physical effort and was once again very restricted in what I could do physically.

Luckily I had a plan B and Plan C that I had already discussed with my heart specialist.

Plan B involved giving my heart an electric shock which we did this week. That worked well and my heart beat and rhythm is now back to normal and I feel great.

We also have a Plan C that we hope to use shortly to make sure my heart problem doesn't come back. (This involves an operation on the part of my heart that is causing the problems I'm experiencing.)

Now the reason I'm sharing this with you is very simple. I think that marketing is very similar to what happened to my heart. Every so often you will have marketing problems that you don't expect. All this means is that Plan A which you are using right now is not working as well as it used to or as well as you want it to.

So what you need to do is try a Plan B, or a Plan C etc. And the good news is that there is always a Plan B you can try.

Example:

Let's say your normal way of getting new clients is positive word of mouth referrals from existing clients. And you usually get 3-5 new clients like this every month.

Then for three months in a row you get no referrals at all. You now have a problem so you need a Plan B or Plan C etc. In other words you need to try something else.

For instance:

You might try offering a helpful 'info magnet' to get you new clients every month. (I have seen this one strategy produce tens of millions of dollars of new sales.) You might try using a monthly added value newsletter to past clients will stimulate some regular referrals and also repeat sales. (This also works very well.)

You might try doing a joint venture with another business where they recommend your business to their own clients. (Marketing legend Jay Abrahams says that if he had only one marketing strategy he could use it would be joint ventures.)

In fact there are dozens and dozens of new things that you could do try to get new clients. My marketing message this week is simple.

Have a Plan B or Plan C ready to go in your marketing.
Just assume that every so often some of your marketing activities won't work as well as want them to. And be willing to try something else.

"If plan A doesn't work, the alphabet has 25 more letters - 204 if you're in Japan." Claire Cook, Seven Year Switch

Take Action:

Take a good look at your marketing results. Are there any areas that are not working as well as you would like? If the answer is 'yes' you just need a plan B or C etc.
What could you do to get better results in this part of your marketing?

- NZ Herald

Graham McGregor is a consultant specialising in memorable marketing. You can download his 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage' Ebook at no charge from www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com.

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

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