Baking up a Marketing Plan

Author: Sayward Proctor

I like to bake. I like to plan. In my mind, the two have natural connections. Let’s think about a cupcake. It requires specific ingredients – flour, eggs, baking powder, butter – to create the cake portion. That cake serves as the base for the flashy, attention-getting frosting and decorations.

Now think about long-term marketing planning. It can be viewed in much the same way. Knowledge of target audiences, insights, objectives and strategies make up the foundation of the plan, while the multitude of tactics are the icing on the cake. Oh, I mean the icing on the plan.

What if we forget something in the cupcake – let’s say baking powder – the cupcake won’t rise. That makes for an awful cupcake. Similarly, ignoring any of the components (no matter how seemingly small) that make up the marketing plan creates a faulty base resulting in an ineffective plan.

So remember all the pieces of your marketing plan and all the ingredients in your cupcake. Don’t skimp or shortcut, and you’ll end up with marketing that’s more in line with your customer and more effective for your organization (not to mention a deliciously filled belly).


so what

Three ways to pass the “so what?” test

Most companies can effectively communicate features and benefits about their products or services, but struggle to create relevance for their target audience. You might manufacture the most durable product on the planet, but why should people care about it?

Here are three strategies for your company to get beyond “so what?” and start engaging in more meaningful communication with your prospects:

1)     The most basic way to make people care is to create an association with something they care strongly about.
Moms may not care about Manwich meat sauce, but they do want to make meals that are healthy for their kids – hence, “a full-serving of vegetables in every can.”

2)     Appeal to self-interest. This can be emotional or rational, like satisfying hunger/thirst, social status, self-confidence, peace of mind, or simply wanting to be a good mom.

3)     Or better yet, appeal to their aspirations – not only to the people they are right now, but the people they would like to be.  Some of the most powerful brands today do this very well: Apple (creative), Nike (athletic), Harley-Davidson (rebel). Use of these brands says something about the kind of person they are or would like to be.


The next time you’re crafting a message to your customers or prospects make sure you ask yourself –
“So what?”