A movie magnate was once quoted as saying "If you can't fit your idea on the back of a business card, you don't have a clear idea." Brevity is popular these days — try Twitter. And then there's the somewhat timeless metaphor — entrepreneur writes out her ideas during a meeting on the back of a cocktail napkin — and success soon follows. There's entrepreneurial wisdom in brevity.
As a marketing and PR veteran for over 20 years, Robyn Levin found the Entrepreneurs and startup marketing teams she was coaching were missing a simple way and brief way to create a focused marketing strategy.
Often, in meetings with them, she would grab a napkin to sketch out ideas. She wondered how often this occurred, and started considering the characteristics of the napkin. Clearly, there's limited space, so there is only room for core ideas. Less, in this case, is more.
"I started giving seminars and handing out branded napkins on which attendees could create their plans." Now Levin has an Ebook — the Cocktail Napkin Marketing Plan that lets entrepreneurs answer a series of questions, and the results are filled into a one—sheet template. (I guess cocktail napkins don't really fit through a pc printer.) "The intent of the plan" says Levin "is to get entrepreneurs clear, focused and ready to take action." The result is a one—year time line with quarterly strategies that the entrepreneur can follow.
Levin notes that some older entrepreneurs are not as comfortable with the new technologies for marketing. They may be overwhelmed or confused by Internet tools like Facebook. She suggests that to market today you have to "understand traditional and new media, and how important it is to integrate the two types." Clearly, Levin does this, selling e-books, blogging, creating webinars, and using word of mouth. She also does in person speaking and bootcamps for training.
What are some core take-aways Levin can give to Entrepreneurs and Startups? "People who are new to marketing or advertising often give it one or two tries and then give up. They don't realize how many times you may have to do something in order to get people to take action. Like Covey says, Begin with the End in mind. A strategy is very important and without it you may be throwing money away. You may have to reach out 5 to 7 times before people will take action."
How do you create your marketing strategy? The comments are open below.
Last updated: Sep 9, 2009
HOWARD GREENSTEIN is a social media strategist and evangelist, and president of the Harbrooke Group, which specializes in helping companies communicate with their customers using the latest Web technologies. @HowardGr