This weekend I watched the remake of the film, Le Mans, starring Christian Bale and Jason Bourne (okay – Matt Damon) with my family.
I REALLY didn’t want to watch it, I hate motor racing (noisy) and films FULL of men (just….arghghgh!), but, as the lone female in a house full of males, romcoms get limited airtime.
I was prepared to HATE it. I rolled my eyes, resigned myself and unleashed a fresh new jigsaw to keep me occupied. Guess what. Reader – I loved that film! It was exciting, packed with gorgeous characterisation and tender moments, and it was very funny.
One bad thing though. It triggered me a bit.
Because, whenever I see people working at the top of their game, I get obsessed over their system. Pro chefs with a mise en place and plating up system have me drooling. Monty Don working through his seed to plant production system drives me to distraction. In this film, it was the pit crew. Full-on system envy. Everyone had the right tools, they were ready to move fast and they didn’t get in each other’s way. No one was saying: “Do you think we’re doing this right?!”
The joy of a physical system comprising chopped mushrooms or a tub of vermiculite, is that you can see it operating. Everyone knows who is doing what, no one is doubting things, changing things or using ‘not the latest’ documents.
Whereas, these problems can easily happen in service-based businesses, especially where they rely on digital materials. The lack of tangibility can lead to flakiness; I used to work in a tech business where one of the sales team would routinely design his own version of our logo because he ‘couldn’t find the latest version’. It pays to proactively get a grip of marketing systems in your business.
If you feel overwhelmed and confused about which marketing activities will work best for your business, you need more focus to get things moving. The secret to making this transformation, is to develop a marketing plan, and then set up a marketing support system to get the plan in motion, and keep it operating at optimal efficiency (just like a racing car, in case you didn’t get the analogy!).
The marketing support system that we put in place for our clients comprises 12 documents – they are the blueprints for the marketing strategy plus the tracking documents for measuring the results of the strategy.
Having these simple documents organised can be the difference between flip-flopping between tactics or being unable to move forward at all, and total clarity, a clear path and ‘ready to get on with the job’ness. This is the work we do during the Plans & Priorities phase of our process.
Once we have developed these items we house them in a central ‘mission control’ type location, where everyone on the team has access and they can be easily used and maintained.
The effects are obvious:
1. Consistency. Everyone on the team, even freelancers, knows where to find the right version of the strapline, or hex colours for the brand identity. So, everything being created for your business looks the same, even when you are using a remote team.
2. Fast-decision making. If you have the right measures and tracking documents in place, you can easily find the information you need to make decisions about changing course or to make the most of a ‘now or never’ opportunity.
3. Measurement. Using tracking documents allows you to see the investment you are making in marketing, and the effect it’s having on the revenue of your business. This creates a ‘closed-loop’ allowing you to increase your investment, or cut it, depending on what the business needs.
What should be in the Marketing Support System?
So, by now you know that there should be 12 components to your marketing support system, but what are they?
Well, this is the secret sauce of our business, but because we think every business should have a marketing strategy and a marketing system to support it, we’ve created a nice little infographic that you can download here (without even inputting your email address) so you can build your own marketing support system.
You probably have some of these components already, but, if there’s one or two you need help with, drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org, we can send you one of our easy to adapt templates, or help you to develop blueprints and trackers that suit the unique needs of your business.