You plan for offensive operations, while you prepare to play defense. You’ll find this concept in both warfare and sports, and it’s applicable in business as well.
I much prefer playing offense, because that’s where you score and generate revenues. A strong business offensive plan also limits the amount of places you’ll need to prepare to play defense, freeing up more resources for–you guessed it–playing more offense.
What’s an example of planning as opposed to preparations in a marketing context?
A great example can be found in the United States Postal Service and the annual postage increases. If you’re using direct mail as a marketing channel, you can be sure of two things:
If you’re mailing Standard Rate, you’ve got until Friday to present your material for entry at the USPS at the current rates. I hope you’ve been getting ready to mail at the old rates.
Is there anything you shouldn’t try to get in the mail at this point?
I can think of a couple things. While it’s temping to get your billing out under the current postage rates (typically by accelerating a few bill cycles from next week to this week), my test results have shown that it’s not usually worth it.
For every cycle you push into this week (using an example of daily billing cycles and 6 day-a-week payment processing) you reduce the time for the customer’s last payment to get into the billing run.
Believe it or not, a lot of customers wait for the last minute to send in payments and they have a very good sense of the time it takes for a payment to work through the USPS. Customers have a sixth sense about their payment cycles and changes to that timing tends to create problems.
I’ve been having severe problems with my long-time AIM email address and am not sure which (if any) messages are going in or out. Should you need to get hold of me, please use mark [at] mapconsultingllc.com to reach me. I’ve been working with the AOL Postmaster to resolve. Perhaps it’s time to reprint those business cards after all.