Here's the Plan

5 minutes are all you need to create a top-notch marketing plan—and get your business ready for success

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Going into business without a guerrilla marketing plan is a lot like going to battle under the command of a general who tells you, "Ready, fire, aim!" Your guerrilla marketing plan functions like a personal guidebook that has seven sentences covering the most pressing issues in marketing. We know that there are far more than seven issues facing a company about to market, but we also know the close correlation between focus and profits. By all means, scrutinize every aspect of your business, but concentrate on these seven areas. Prove your concentration by writing one brief sentence covering each area. That's not overly demanding. In fact, all the sentences except the fourth one are short and simple. The fourth one is a list.

A minute is a long time. Do nothing for one minute, and you'll see how much time is packed into that little unit. For your guerrilla marketing to succeed, you need to put a seven-sentence guerrilla marketing plan into writing in five minutes. Read the entire article before you get started. Don't try to cover everything or say too much in each of your sentences. A guerrilla marketing plan is a blueprint, a framework, a map. What you're about to create will serve you in startup and continue helping you for three to five years. Although your commitment to this plan is going to make it work, you must still be prepared to make minor alterations to the plan. 

A marketing plan this brief and focused has been the cornerstone of many businesses worldwide. It's short enough to show to all interested parties without boring them with details. It's focused enough so that everyone gets the point. Procter & Gamble, one of the world's most marketing-minded companies, creates a marketing plan for each of its products. These plans are as brief as we're suggesting here. Each P&G plan may be accompanied by 300 pages of documentation, but it begins with a clear guerrilla marketing strategy. Do as you like with your own documentation. But get the seven sentences right first.

1. The first sentence tells the purpose of your marketing. Be very specific. What physical action do you want your prospect to take? Pick up a phone and punch in your business's number? Go to its website? Send an e-mail? Go to your store? Call a phone number and ask for Rose? What specific thing do you want prospects to do right after they've been exposed to your marketing message? You've got to be clear about that, or your prospects never will be.

In your sentence, don't say something vague like "to grow" or "to surpass my competitors." Instead, be very specific. What precisely is the outcome you want from your marketing? Begin by creating SMART goals: sensible, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (must be accomplished before a specified deadline). For example, maybe you want to develop 50 new leads by June 3, generate 1,000 web hits a day or cultivate 10 new clients in the next three months. Don't talk marketing or advertising in this sentence. Talk in plain English. We'd write a couple of examples here for you, but starting up doesn't mean hitching a ride. Close your eyes and visualize a prospect who has just read, heard or viewed your message. The prospect is smiling. What's he going to do next? Watch him carefully. Then convince the world to do just what he did.

2. The second sentence states the competitive advantage you'll emphasize. How will you accomplish your first-sentence goal? Why will your public take the action we were just talking about? You've got a lot of benefits to offer your public, but so do your competitors. Fortunately for you, you've also got some benefits that only you offer. These are your competitive advantages. This is where you hang your marketing hat. If you have multiple competitive advantages, good for you, but pick only one to be the superstar of your marketing campaign. More than one might confuse an audience already besieged by marketing clutter. 

Whenever possible, stress your competitive advantage so that it is seen as the solution to a problem. Guerrilla marketers have long known that it is much easier to sell the solution to a problem than to sell a positive benefit.