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June 29, 2010


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Molly Walker

Hi, Robert, boy, can I relate to what Elizabeth posted! While my communications business has continued to be strong, developing a marketing plan is something I have always resisted. I have figured, if I can get by without it, why do it? But things keep coming through my door that make me realize it's not clear to others what I do best. Of course, I continue to learn that, too! P.S. Whenever I read your posts, Robert, I always find something that speaks to me. Great work!

Kent Vincent

I think there are three challenges to getting a marketing plan together for a
consulting oriented business--

The unique nature of each client's problem thwarts the attempt to "productize" and describe a cut and dried process and outcome that the client will get. (You don't want to be accused of being a hammer that sees every situation as a nail.) Also, until you work through several of these you will not have a good enough sense of what things work and which things should be set aside to simplify the offering. I can describe with clarity the industry verticals and issues I address and the general approach, but the exact pathway and benefits will need to vary until it's all refined through repeated trial.

Second, the sales and promotion tactics that you name in your plan won't amount to more than a bucketed "list of things to try" unless you can get a reliable read on the probable yield and reach you can expect from each and what message form and content your prospects respond to. Should optimism or realism prevail?

Third, you can get drawn in to doing well differentiated high-value services along with more low-margin commoditized ones (eg, basic concept training). Which do you emphasize in your planning if your prospects want to "cover the basics" first the way your not-for-profit competitors do?


Hi Robert,

I have been getting your periodic emails for a while. Sometimes I read them and sometimes I trash them. In making this choice I have always known that this is about me not you. I read this email. The BP topic lured me in, yet the BP information was not a surprise. As a former engineer this type of thing is so typical.

What got me here to comment was my complete disgust at watching my coaching business struggle. And yes I have never really written a business plan that I could follow. The hardest part of the plan is figuring out what it is that I have to offer and then to make that into a plan.

The thing that is stopping me is me. I am planted firmly in my own way. I am not looking for a cookie-cutter, off the shelf marketing plan (none of those things appeal to me). I am looking to create a plan that taps into who I am and steps out in ways that may not be traditional. It is frightening to think about moving forward, yet it is more frightening to think about standing still for the rest of my life.

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