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I love marketing plans. Love to get into the data and analyze it. And then to develop a stream of alternatives, then create a best fit analysis and all that other geeky stuff.
The new "new" plan format is a lot simpler.
First is the "What It Is" section. This is where we tell each other what is happening in the market, to our products, what the competition is doing and the assumptions we make about each of these. Is this our view of the world? Is it real? Because everything else will be based on this foundation.
Second is the "What Are We Going To Do?" section. This is where we determine what we are going to do to change the product, the advertising, the distribution, the sales channels, the people you will need, the technology, the budgets, the deadlines, the number of units (games, bowlers, beers, birthdays, company parties, fund raisers, etc). This is the plan. There really isn't anything else.
Of course, you're going to be wrong. Deadlines will come and go, advertising plans will drop off the planet, programs won't get implemented, so the next section is all-important.
Section three is "What Are You Going To Do Differently NOW?" This section gives you a back-up plan when the other stuff that you planned doesn't work. Some people call it a contingency plan. I call it the REAL plan.
So before the season starts, why not take a shot at doing a plan? Maybe even a real plan.