Ready … Aim … Fire

Apologies if you were hoping to read more about the explosion of firings in the latest series of The Apprentice, where Lord Sugar’s finger has been working overtime in the first few programmes.
This week I’m returning to the subject of planning and implementation and getting the balance right. So what do I mean by Ready, Aim and Fire?
Ready – we have the foundations for successful marketing:
We understand our customers (present and future); who they are, what they need, where they are and how we can reach them
We have a clear proposition; what we do and what difference we can make to them
We have a competitive advantage; we know who our competitors are, what they offer and where we meet our customers’ needs better
Aim – we know where we are going and how to get there:
We have marketing objectives; the critical things we need our marketing to achieve
We have an agreed strategy; the route to achieving our marketing objectives and in turn the business goals
We have built a marketing plan; costed, with a calendar of activities and we know who is responsible for making it happen
We have set KPIs that will give us an early indication that the plan is working
Fire – our plan is being implemented
We are tracking actions against the plan to check we are implementing on time and on budget
We are measuring and reporting results against our KPIs
We are refining the strategy , plan and KPIs based on our learning to ensure we deliver the objectives and business goals
The best performing businesses balance their marketing effort between Ready, Aim and Fire. Sadly, too many businesses focus too heavily on ‘Fire’ and often end up with disappointing results.
Investing regular time and money in the ‘Ready’ and ‘Aim’ phases makes it easier to ‘Fire’ and ensures the best results.