On the 4th day of Christmas JCK made me see, why I need a marketing strategy.

So, you’ve drawn the short straw, and everyone is coming round yours for Christmas dinner. But it’s OK; you know that it consists of a Turkey and Christmas pudding so there is no need to create a menu. In fact why bother planning at all, you don’t need to worry about the festive decorations, what you need to buy, what presents you’re going to give out – you know it all right? After all its relatively straight forward isn’t it?

So instead of planning in advance and getting your groceries delivered, you get to the shops Christmas Eve to get your ingredients. Of course, all the fresh Turkeys are gone, that’s OK you can buy two smaller frozen ones; they’ll thaw out in time for tomorrow morning, not quite what you wanted but it will do. You wanted to start the proceedings with a decent bottle of champagne. However, all the cheaper varieties are gone, so you end up buying a more expensive bottle than you wanted taking you over your budget. But that’s OK, it’s Christmas after all, it will mean things will be a bit tight next month, but everyone’s in the same boat, aren’t they?

Decorations, go by the wayside, after fussing with all the food shopping you just don’t have the energy or imagination to think about what a great centre piece might look like, yet alone know which shop would still have stock. You’re sure you’ve got a couple of candles stuck in the cupboard – they’ll do, after all, decorations are just niceties that people can do without, do they add much to the overall experience of the day??

So Christmas arrives, and you start preparing dinner. But of course two turkeys won’t fit in your oven at once, so you’ll either have to serve dinner later and upset your guests. (because of course you didn’t think to buy any pre-dinner nibbles to stave off the hunger, and you can’t just cook one turkey as there won’t be enough to go round)

Can you imagine what kind of day your guests will have, they’ll arrive at your house which is devoid of decoration and personality, they’ll leave not knowing that the Champagne you served them cost £100 a bottle, and hungry after one thin slice of Turkey. And even though you did the best you could, with the resources you had, they’ll know that you were extremely stressed and unable to cope. So perhaps they won’t come back next year because it’s all obviously too much for you to handle.

Does this sound like a perfect scenario to you? Of course, not, you wouldn’t leave your Christmas preparations to chance, you’d know exactly what menu you’re serving, you’d order your Christmas Turkey weeks in advance and get your Christmas tree sorted and decorated long before anyone showed up.

So, why oh why is it, that for a lot of business owners, that’s what happens every day in their marketing strategy. Like you wanting to put on the most fantastic perfect Christmas dinner, business owners have a great vision for their business. They simply don’t understand that most of their customers don’t know what they do, so how can they put a value to it. (can you tell the difference between a £50 and £100 bottle of champagne?) most customers ‘buy-in’ to the personality or brand of a business, if your plan doesn’t reinforce this how do your clients know what your personality is?? and if the whole experience leaves them flat and hungry for more – do you think they’ll come back again?

Most business owners think they can achieve this without a plan. They couldn’t be more wrong.

If you have a vision for success, you need to map out how you are going to get there, what kind of client is right for your business?? Do they understand and appreciate the service you provide? Do they know what your brand stands for?

This is what a marketing strategy will deliver; you’ll know what clients you want to attract, what products you can sell them at what price. You’ll know which customers to turn away (because they don’t like champagne) you get the idea….

Please don’t be the person that plans for a Christmas dinner more than the vision for your business, or the plate of food your serve up day in day out really won’t attract anyone!