Marketing and communications have never been more important within the direct sales industry than they are right now.
While good marketing always has been a common thread among successful companies, it’s often been overlooked as a recognized driver, playing second fiddle to compensation plan design, product development, field training and the like.
Today’s direct sales marketing leader has a lot on his or her plate. In a new way, the industry is recognizing the need to deliberately build brands and experiences that stand out to certain market segments. At the same time, our marketing and communications teams still spend large amounts of their time and attention on efforts that support the sales and field development efforts. And, of course, the marketer’s role in the ever-changing digital space is growing exponentially.
Wearing all of these hats can make the planning process a real challenge. I hear from companies regularly who recognize the need to improve their planning process for marketing and communication efforts, but they just don’t know where to start. I hope this process will help you shape your planning process.
What is Marketing at My Company?
I like to push this question to a new level and get specific. Ask yourself this question:
What is marketing at my company?”
It’s too easy to let someone else in a different situation at a different company with different circumstances define what marketing should be in our own situation and circumstances. In direct sales, it’s especially easy to look at what other companies are doing, and let them answer the question for us. It’s certainly wise to see what your colleagues are doing at other companies, but you can’t let that be the sole driver for your strategy.
One of the best actions you can take as a marketing leader is clearly defining what marketing is (and what it’s not) at your organization, specifically and realistically. Only then can you create a plan that actually supports what your company will benefit from most and can realistically pull off.
Capture and Collect
Every planning process needs to allow for some dreaming, some creative thinking, some input from others. But too often we get caught up in a “there’s no such thing as a bad idea” type of session that leads nowhere in the end because of a lack of structure and purpose.
A productive planning session should begin with an objective already defined. Hopefully, your company has clearly established its three to seven overall objectives for the year prior to this planning process. Ask yourself this question: “What can we do to help make those objectives happen?” Spend time alone thinking through this, then present it to your team.
At this point, it’s OK to be open to any and all ideas, because those ideas should be in response to the company’s core objectives. Collect and capture each thought without committing to anything.
Brett Duncan, Co-Founder and Managing Principal of Strategic Choice Partners, walks you through the rest of the process on how to create your company’s marketing roadmap in his guest artcle on Direct Selling News titled, “How to Create a Marketing Roadmap That Gets Results.” Be sure to read the full article.
Execution is everything! All this planning means nothing if something doesn’t actually happen. A brief status meeting, either weekly or biweekly, is a good way to keep things on track.
If you are looking to take your marketing to the next level, beyond a marketing roadmap, we’re working alongside many direct selling companies helping them do just this. We’d love to help you, too.
Contact us now, and let’s schedule some time to discuss your company and its best next steps.
About Brett Duncan
Brett is a founding partner with Strategic Choice Partners, and an experienced executive specializing in marketing, communications and digital strategic consulting.
He worked for his first direct sales company two days a week while still in college packing shipments in their warehouse from 5 until midnight. He began at the entry level of the marketing department at AdvoCare, International in 2002, rising to the position of marketing manager before he left in 2007. In 2009, he joined Mannatech as Sr. Director of Global Online Solutions. He was then promoted to Vice President of Global Marketing in 2011.