Marketing plan and sphere of influence. These terms are referred to much of the time when one is talking about marketing. But there seems to be no clear definition of these terms. Everyone agrees that they are all very important. But no one agrees what exactly they are. Therefore, we will give you our definition.
Sphere of influence. A sphere of influence is comprised of two main components.
•Those who know you and you know them. This component of personal relationships is the most important of the entire sphere.
•Those you have something in common with. Though less important than the other component, this part of the sphere can be very significant when formulating a marketing plan. Of course how much you have in common is imperative. If you are over six feet tall, you have something in common with other tall people. But this is not important to your sphere. If you have attended a particular church for 20 years, this is something that may be very important in regard to your sphere. In regard to attending a church or a school, there will be those at the institution that you know and others with which you just have this membership in common.
The sphere itself is comprised of seven main categories. It is the organization of these categories that can be helpful when developing a marketing plan–
•Personal: friends, family and neighbors.
•Previous customers: from your present business and previous businesses.
•Previous prospects: those who decided to purchase from someone else or those you could not serve or chose not to serve.
•Previous employees: those you have worked with.
•Vendors: those from which you purchase goods and services and those who sell the same to your targets.
•Associations: academic, religious, business, civic, hobbies, interests, sports and more.
•Professionals: doctors, lawyers, accountants, financial planners, etc.
So you know what your sphere is comprised of. How does that help you devise a marketing plan? In simple terms–a marketing plan is the process of delivering value to your sphere. A marketing plan should be focusing on doing four things–
•Determining what is the highest value to deliver to certain segments of your sphere and how to deliver this value.
•Prioritizing the contacts within the sphere–from highest to lowest.
•Moving people and businesses into the sphere.
•Moving contacts up in priority within the sphere.
In essence, the sphere should resemble a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid will reside the most important contacts within your sphere (and there will be less of them, of course). At the bottom are the less important contacts (perhaps alumni members you don’t know). You can see how this process of prioritization can direct your marketing activities.
You may be calling and/or having business meetings with those on top of the pyramid. On the bottom of the pyramid, you may be mailing or advertising to these people. If you must advertise, doesn’t it make sense to advertise to people with whom you have more in common?
Sphere segmentation and prioritization also helps immensely with the value proposition. Now you can determine how best to deliver value. For example, with vendors you should be focusing upon helping them build their business. Why should they help you if you are not helping them?
One last question focuses on the term prioritization. Simply, a high priority target contains the potential for a high concentration of business to refer. You also should have a close relationship with that target and should be able to deliver value to that target. For example, if your spouse had the potential for referring a lot of business, shouldn’t that be your top priority? Focus on what is important and you will have a better chance at improving your results.