Planning: Small is beautiful
Updated: Dec 11, 2019
We've been benchmarking plans for 10+ years and have seen over 500 documents from various teams and companies...but we've started to spot a new trend. Brands with small budgets or limited clinical data seem to be the best at planning.
This trend is probably not due to greater skill or capability in the teams but simply due to the fact that the team has fewer distractions and is forced to prioritise. If you consider a small brand in an organisation could have 80% less resources than a larger brand in the same organisation, but may not have 80% less customers, they are forced to make some good decisions:
- Which customers are the ones I can get the very best growth out of?
- How can I make sure my resources are only utilised against my best customers?
- Which tactics are the most efficient in generating a behaviour change?
- How will I keep close to my customers to spot changes?
In the Pharmaceutical industry we have seen a similar trend in brands who have just limited clinical data. With just a small data set a brand has less choice in potential differentiators and has to stick to the same one, investing in data which supports the existing claims.
Yes...I know you're probably thinking that all brands should be doing these things, but based on our benchmarking we're finding that brands with more data start to get distracted.
For example, one plan described a "Holistic approach" to marketing the brand which in reality became a list of all the brand attributes. By trying to support all of these attributes at the same time, customers were unsure what it stood for and in the confusion selected the competitor.
Brands with large budgets have a similar problem as they can afford to execute many more ideas. Each team meeting or business review seems to create an additive set of tactics, often encouraged by senior leaders who ask for "Innovation" or "What more could you do?". We recently benchmarked a team with 126 tactics listed in their plan...even if they designed, created and executed 1 tactic a week they would still have less than half delivered in the year.
So how can brands with big budgets and great clinical data plan better? The simple fact is it's about prioritisation but here are a couple of practical steps
1) Get the team to assume the budget get cuts by 70%, what would they do?
2) Use Kotler's Points of Differentiation and Points of Parity to find sustainable differentiators
3) Understand which mix of your tactics last year had the biggest impact on your goals
4) Select a small number of tactics and if offered more resources just scale up
If you would like to see how your brand planning fits against our benchmarking tool, contact us today.