1 PAGE Marketing Plan by Allan Dib Blogpost Book Review

The 1-Page Marketing Plan

Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out from the Crowd- by Allan Dib

I recently received this Marketing book in the post for free. I had been asked nicely in advance if I would review it. I like reading business books so I agreed (no fee involved). The book is called The 1-Page Marketing Plan. It is written by Allan Dib from Australia and it is a very worthwhile read.

no one knows how good your products or services are until after the sale. Before they buy, they only know how good your marketing is. Put simply, the best marketer wins every time.

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

The book is complimented by a website with resources to include the 1-Page Marketing Plan canvas downloadable on provision of an email to Successwise.com

In the book acknowledgements, the author states that he is a collector of elegant ideas as opposed to a marketing and business genius. He explains that his approach is to closely copy the things that make others successful – he has collated these ideas to make the 1 Marketing Plan system so that you can benefit from a treasure trove of proven business-building ideas.

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

How to complete Allan’s One Page Marketing Plan Canvas

Allan Dib has created a simple step-by-step process for creating a marketing plan for your business that is literally one page. Simply follow along and fill in each of the nine squares that make up his 1-Page Marketing Canvas.

1 Page Marketing Plan Canvas – click to enlarge

I have always liked the concept of a 1 Page Marketing Plan – I have a very popular download on my website with a resource of the same name – so I was interested to see how Allan would address the topic. The structure of the book (9 chapters) matches the canvas facilitating you to complete the Canvas one block at a time. You will have a complete 1 PAGE Marketing Plan for your buisness when you finish reading the book. I didn’t actually complete a Canvas but I will do so the next time a Client asks for assistance with their Marketing.

My review selects 20 Business Building ideas that I found interesting in the book rather than summarise each step (I found this blog post which summarises the 9 Steps) in the Canvas. I also created an infographic (pictured at bottom of post) which is available to download in pdf.

Contents of the Book

Contents 1 Page Marketing Plan Book
Click to enlarge Contents

The book is structured in line with the 1-Page Marketing Plan canvas. The 9 chapters are grouped into 3 Acts one for each of three phases on the journey as someone ‘Becomes Your Customer’ namely:  the “Before” phase; the “During Phase”; and the “After Phase”. On page 26, Alan puts forward that ‘the marketing process is a journey we want to guide our ideal target market through. We want to guide them from not knowing we exist right through to being a raving fan customer’.

There is a brief summary at the start of each Section and Chapter (see Contents for full list). Then at the end of each chapter Actions are listed for the reader to complete for their business which refer to the 1-Page Marketing Plan canvas.

Why I liked this book?

I like two types of business books. The first is the autobiography which tell a story and shares business wisdom. I really liked Alan Sugar’s book and the Steve Jobs one – both of which I reviewed.

The second type of book that I go for, like this one, is the instructional or training guide which will include real examples to illustrate points. Examples make books easier to read and understand the key concepts. I am often asked for book recommendations when I am delivering training to startups and microenterprise.  I favour books which set out a structure and have content that agrees with what I already think and know (and don’t refer to the 4Ps of Marketing). I am on record citing Traction as the best book on modern marketing tools and now I am happy to add this 1-Page Marketing Plan to my list in terms of Marketing particularly in the area of Strategy and Planning. And I would think that you should read this one first and then Traction.

I like the core tenet of this book, as summarised in the following table, that good customer oeriented marketing & sales follows the prospect through a journey that focuses on the problem, the solution and delivers the value promised.

Three Phases of the Marketing Journey by Allan Dib 1 Page Marketing Plan
Three Phases of the Marketing Journey by Allan Dib 1 Page Marketing Plan

On page 15, the author sets out to provide the simplest, most jargon free definition of marketing.

If a circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Showground Saturday,” that’s Advertising.  If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s Promotion.  If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed and the local newspaper writes a story about it, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.  And if you planned the whole thing, that’s Marketing.

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

20 Business Building Ideas from the 1 PAGE Marketing Plan

As someone who has a Masters in Marketing and several years’ experience in business, I don’t think I personally learned anything particularly new in this book (just an observation rather than a criticism) but it certainly got me thinking about key issues again. I really like the structure, personality and practicality of the book. Here are 20 key takeaways that struck a chord with me as I read the book:

1. Invest Time, Energy and Money in Marketing

Business owners may fool themselves into thinking that if their product is excellent, that the market will buy and that there is no need for marketing. But history is littered with technically superior products that commercially failed. He suggests that a good product is a customer-retention tool. If we give our customers a great product or service experience, they’ll buy more from us, they’ll refer people to us and they’ll build the brand through positive word of mouth. However, before customer retention, we think need to think about customer acquisition (AKA marketing). Another big mistake small business owners make when it comes to marketing is to blindly mimic what large successful competitors in their industry are doing!

The most successful entrepreneurs always start with Marketing

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

2. Strategy First – be ‘Special’ for your Target Customer

Targeting everyone with your product or service is a terrible idea – for your business and your customer. It might seem logical to not exclude any potential customers but if you focus too broadly your marketing message will become diluted and weak. When trying to target everyone you tend to kill your ‘specialness’ and become a commodity bought on price.   Whereas operating in a niche market as a specialist tends to makes price irrelevant as you will be perceived differently by your potential customers. A specialist is paid handsomely to solve a specific problem for their target market.

A great way to figure out your ideal target market (who you want your customers to be) is to complete a PVP index – Personal fulfilment (P), Value (V) to the Marketplace and Profitability (P). So do you enjoy providing this product or service, will ‘they’ pay you well for it, and is it profitable – remember it’s not about the “turnover”, it’s all about the “left over”.

The author emphasises that understanding the difference between Strategy and tactics is absolutely key to marketing success. Marketing is the strategy you use for getting your ideal target market to know you, like you and trust you enough to become a customer.  The point is made that much of the stuff usually associated with marketing are tactics. Strategy is the big-picture planning you do prior to the tactics. A common trap which small business fall into is getting caught up in the latest tactics or hot marketing tactics like SEO, video, podcasting, pay per click advertising and so on and never figure out the big picture of what they’re actually trying to do any why.

Understand the difference between Strategy & Tactics

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

3. Intimately understand your target customer- enter the conversation going on in their head

Putting the right stuff in front of the wrong people or the wrong stuff in front of the right people is one of the first marketing mistakes made by business owners (p.63) Figure out your ideal target market so that Marketing can be directed towards that audience. Selecting a niche harnesses the power of focus – ideally you are looking for a target market where a lot of people are looking for a solution to a specific problem. Once you dominate a niche, you can expand your business by finding another profitable and highly targeted niche, then dominate that one too.

Get into the mind of your prospect in order to create an Avator (also referred to as a persona) for your target market.  Avators should be created for each type of decision maker or influencer. Not only have you to be specific on demographics such as gender, age and geography but you have to understand both what keeps them awake at night in terms of frustrations but also the ONE thing they crave above all else. Examples are given from page 42 to 44.

The author explains that one of the easiest methods of finding out what your Prospects want is to ask them. This can be done through a survey or more formal market research. He adds:

“It should be noted that most people don’t know what they want until they’ve actually been presented with it. Also, when people are doing surveys or responding to market research, they do so with logic; however, purchasing is done with emotions and justified with logic after the fact. So you need to supplement asking with observing.”

Figure out your ideal target market to focus your marketing efforts

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

4. Succinctly convey the problem that you are solving

A strong USP (Unique Selling Proposition) must be designed to attract prospects before they’ve made a purchase decision. A USP formula is provided to ensure that you craft your elevator pitch while being customer/problem focused rather than you/product focused:

You Know {problem}? Well, what we do is {Solution}. In fact, {proof}

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

Several examples are provided to include this one for Electrical Engineering: “You know when there are power outages that bring down critical systems in large businesses? Well, what I do is install backup power systems for companies that rely on having a continual supply of power for their operations. In fact, I installed the system at XYZ Bank, which has resulted in them having 100% uptime since the system was installed.” Chapter 2 has a super section on how to ‘Create an Irresistible Offer’. A key step is to ‘enter the conversation already going on in Your Prospect’s Mind’ as per point 2 above.

Before you ever write a single word of copy, you must intimately understand how your target market thinks and talks, the kind of language they use and respond to, what kind of day they have and the conversation that goes on in their minds.

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

5. Create Irresistible Direct Response Offers

Marketing for small business must be Direct Response oriented. The goal of all advertising must be to elicit a response. The goal of your ad is for your prospect to say, “Hey that’s for me”.

There are many components to crafting a compelling offer (outlined in Chapter 2). Taking the lazy, ill-thought out road of “10% off” or similar crappy offers is akin to throwing your marketing dollars in the thrash.

BTW, this starts with selecting a name for your Business, Product or Brand that makes it automatically obvious what the product, service or business is. Always choose clarity over cleverness. The author has a great answer when people say, ‘What about great brands with unusual names like Nike, Apple, Skype, Amazon and so on? … read page 77 to find out his response.

6. Choose appropriate media to convey your message

Advertising media is the vehicle you’ll use to reach your target market and communicate your message. It’s the bridge that connects your offer to your target. Later in the book, Allan says ‘The art and science of being able to consistently turn a dollar of paid advertising into a dollar or more in profits through direct response marketing will make your business resilient and help you turn the tap on to rapid business growth’.

The author urges caution with the hype surrounding Social Media. On page 88 he states that ‘Many self-proclaimed social media gurus would have you believe that social media is the future of all marketing and that if you’re not dedicating most or all of your marketing resources to social media, you’re a Luddite who’ll soon be out of business’. He adds that he is not against social media and has used it successfully in many businesses but it needs to be understood in context. Social media is by definition a form of media – it’s not a strategy. A marketing campaign has three vital elements: Market, Message and Media. Always ask which type of media is right for your business? Social media is not the ideal selling environment. Being pushy and constant pitching of offers are generally considered poor behaviour on social networks. However, just like real-life social gathering, social media is a great place to create and extend relationships that can later turn into something commercial, if there’s a good fit. There are two potential traps with social media. First it can be a time suck. Some people have the perception that social media marketing is free. It’s only truly free if your time is worth nothing. Second, there’s the question of ownership – your social media page and profile is actually the property of the social network.

Build up your own marketing assets such as websites, blogs and email lists and use social media to drive traffic to these marketing assets

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

7. Hire Experts

Whether you’re using traditional media like radio, TV and print or newer digital media like social, SEO and email marketing, you’ll need to understand the idiosyncrasies of each. Hire experts that specialise in whatever media you decide is right for your campaign. Don’t try to do it yourself, especially when it comes to the most expensive part of your marketing process.

8. Stop Selling and start Educating and Advising

Many new (and existing) businesses expect Sales to happen because of the mere fact that the business is in operation. Their marketing strategy is hope. And sure, they may make a small number of sales just by virtue of being there when a random prospect wanders by. But that is a guaranteed path to frustration. Many such businesses make just enough money to torture themselves to death. If we were honest with ourselves, the real problem is that many small business are positioning themselves as a commodity or ‘me too’ type of business. When you position yourself in this way your only marketing weapons are to shout as loudly as possible (which is very expensive) or to discount your prices as far as possible (which is dangerous).

Whether you’re selling freshly baked bread, accounting services or IT Support, the way you market yourself will have a dramatic impact on the clients you attract and the amount that you can charge for your services. A commonly held belief is that ‘it’s all about the product” so if you have a better product or service people will automatically be more likely to buy from your and pay more for it. While this is true to some extent, the law of diminishing returns comes into play when your product or services reaches a ‘good enough’ level. After all, how much better can your IT support or accounting services or bread be than that of your competition? Once, you’ve reached a level of competence, the real profit comes from the way you market yourself and the relationships that you develop with customers. You need to become the expert in your category or industry. You need to be perceived in the eyes of your prospects as someone who educates them and solves their problems. If you’ve got a quality product or service, what’s stopping you from positioning it at a much higher level – offering it at a premium price and attracting a higher quality of customer?

Use Positioning as a bedrock for your Trust based Sales Conversion Process

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

9. Develop Marketing Infrastructure

Lack of a functional marketing infrastructure will harm your business. In this blogpost extracted from the book, the author explains that ‘Some businesses have built a marketing infrastructure which constantly brings in new leads, follows them up, nurtures and converts them into raving fan customers’. Your marketing infrastructure will be made up of ‘assets’ to include your blog, lead capture websites, email marketing and podcasts. Your job is to ‘Make it Up, Make it Real and Make it Recur’ – that is come up with your marketing ideas; hire graphic designers, web developers and copywriters to make it real; then get admin help or use fulfilment services to make it recur. In addition to regular scheduled marketing activities, you need to consider event-triggered marketing activities such as what to do after meeting a potential prospect at a business event.

Use Positioning as a bedrock for your Trust based Sales Conversion Create a marketing calendar that sets out what marketing activities have to happen on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis, and you put those into your schedule like you would all other important business events

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

10. Have an unlimited budget for marketing that works

Most businesses set a marketing budget. However, setting a limit implies that marketing as a pure expense and maybe even a waste of money. This is because most business have no real idea if marketing is working because they don’t measure results. Hence they throw (some) money at it in the hope that it’s giving some sort of positive result. The author asks, ‘If your marketing is working (giving you a positive return on investment), why on earth would you limit it with a budget?’ And if you find that such an approach leads to more demand than you can handle, then raise your prices to boost your margins and bring you a better quality of client.

‘The only time to set a marketing budget is when you’re in the testing phase. In the testing phase, I advise that you fail often and fail cheap until you have a winner. Test your headline, your offer, your ad positioning and other variables. Then, cut your losers and optimise the winners until you finally have a combination that gives you the best possible return on tec. Remember, the post offices charges you the same amount to mail a crappy direct mail piece that bombs as they do a high converting direct mail piece that pulls in millions. Once you have a winner that pulls in more than it costs you, crank up the marketing spend.“

11. Leverage Marketing Technology

Marketing infrastructure, systems and activity can leverage marketing technology to boost efficiency. The prime example is a CRM system.

12. Deliver a World Class Experience

Truly remarkable businesses get exponential results because each customer they add is not just revenue or a transaction but can be counted as recurring revenue because the person becomes an evangelist for the business. Chapter 7 ‘Delivering a World Class Experience’  looks at strategies for turning customers into raving fans who trust you, refer your business to others and can’t wait to do more business with you. These people are your Tribe (a deliberate reference to Seth Godin’s excellent book) and it is vital to have strategies for building such a following and taking great care of them.

13. Create an Outrageous Guarantee

Customers are risk averse. A guarantee that removes all risk is recommended to help your business stand out from the crowd. It comes at no cost to your business if you are committed to giving your customers excellent service and train your staff accordingly.

14. Your goal is to ensure that Customers achieve results

There is a very interesting discussion on page 159 on the need to fight to get your customers to do what they need to do to achieve results with your product or service – the analogy is used of someone buying a treadmill but never using it and complaining that it did not deliver any health or fitness benefits. You can’t let this happen with your product or service as your customers won’t derive the benefits they need. You might secure revenue but it won’t build your business. Ensuring that your Customers achieve the benefit and results they seek is part of ensuring a World Class experience.

15. Sell Them What They Want but Give Them What They Need

As outlined in chapter 2, the first step in crafting a good offer is to find out exactly what the market wants. When it comes to delivery of your product or service, we need to give our customers not just what they want but what they need. Let’s say you’re a fitness instructor. You improve people’s lives through better health, fitness and nutrition. The concept of better health is too vague, far off and long term for most people. So instead you’ve got to appeal to vanity, performance or some other specific want that the prospect has. There’s often a big difference between what people want and what they need.

You need to understand both needs and wants. They are sometimes overlapping and sometimes completely separate.

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

16. Work to increase Customer Lifetime Value

Chapter 8 ‘Increasing Customer Lifetime Value’ discusses strategies such as Raising Prices; Upselling; Ascension (Price Plans & Service Levels); increasing Frequency by using vouchers for repeat business; and Reactivation

17. Measure and track your marketing return

What gets measured, gets managed. Be ruthless with your ad spend by cutting the losers and riding the winners – the cost of each customer acquisition must be less than the profit generated from each customer. To know what’s losing and what’s winning, you need to be tracking and measuring. Page 192 provides an example to illustrate how a 10% improvement in three numbers generates a 431% improvement to the bottom line. So:

Aim to improve Leads, Conversion Rate and Average Transaction value by 10%

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

18. Create Marketing, Sales, Fulfilment and Administration Systems

Products make you Money, Business Systems Make You a Fortune –  Business systems start with documented procedures and processes that allow your business to work without you. It’s a sad situation when a business owner goes to sell their business and finds that, after putting in many years of hard work, that their business is worthless. It’s not so much that the business itself is worthless; it’s that they ARE the business and without them there is no real business to sell. Complimenting Michael Gerber’s book The E-Myth Revisited, the author outlines the Catch 22 situation where a small business owner has no time to work on the business as they are working in the business.

There are four scalable and replicable business systems needed by every business: marketing, sales, fulfilment and administration.

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

19. Fire Low-Value Problem Customers

Not all Customers are Equal. Page 195 explains that generally your customer base can be divided up into four categories:

  1. The Tribe – are supporters of your business and provide healthy revenue to grow your business
  2. The Churners – are customers who really can’t afford you on the basis of either time or money.
  3. The Vampires – consume a massive amount of your resources compared to other customers while paying the same amount.
  4. The Snow Leopard – might be your biggest customer, one that makes up a very large chunk of your revenue but they are rare and difficult to replicate so don’t represent a good growth strategy.

The author says that without exception, across multiple businesses and industries, he has found that it’s the low value, price-sensitive customers who complain the most, waste huge amounts of your time a and always need to be chased for payment. So:

Fire low-value problem clients

Allan Dib, The 1 Page Marketing Plan

This is a topic I have addressed in my blogpost, ‘Dealing with difficult clients as a Freelance Consultant’.

20. Orchestrate and stimulate Referrals

The key to a proactive Word Of Mouth (W.O.M) strategy is to ask for the Referral. There is some nice examples presented in chapter 9 on how a business can craft a message to orchestrate referrals.

Conclusion + Infographic

So this is a very good book. As such I would recommend to any startups that I meet to include those on Start Your Own Business and New Frontiers programmes.  Hope you enjoyed this post, comments and social shares welcome. Here is an infographic that I created for this post.

1 PAGE Marketing Plan by Allan Dib Infographic created by Donncha Hughes - Marketing is about understanding the Market, listening to the Customer, creating a message, Communicating the offer, as the business delivers a World Class experience to create raving fan Customers to underpin future Growth.
Marketing is about understanding the Market, listening to the Customer, creating a message, Communicating the offer, as the business delivers a World Class experience using best in class systems to create raving fan Customers to underpin future Growth.

Finally, if you want to listen to Allan Dib, here is an interesting one hour podcast with Louis Grenier of Everyonehatesmarketers.com

Best regards

donncha (@donnchadhh on twitter)

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