Pumpkin Plan

Pumpkin Plan Your Marketing

As virtual CIO, I sit in many board meeting and strategy sessions for customers. My role is not just streamlining technology, but also super charging digital marketing. My clients are either desperate or doing well and want to be great. The desperate struggle with technology so badly that it is hurting the bottom line. Also, a small fortune has been spent on Google Adwords or search optimization with nothing to show for it. The moderate performers realize they have hit a glass ceiling for revenues and know they can be doing better in both technology and digital marketing to facilitate increased growth.

Before attacking technology, I generally ask a hard question to start concerning digital marketing:

How are you different from your competition?

After the general rambling diatribe or occasional sputtering struggle, I dutifully write down the listed bullet points. Next, I ask the customers to make six columns on a spreadsheet for them and five competitors. The drill is reviewing each website and listing the things the customer and each competitor tout.

Invariably, there is the startling realization that the customer repeats the same things as competitors. Often the answers to the original question (that could be a unique message) aren’t even on the customer’s website. To make matters worse, most of the sites usually have the same color scheme or look and feel. If all the options are the same, how are customers supposed to figure out where to buy?

In 2012, Mike Michalowicz published The Pumpkin Plan. I’ve yet to meet Mike and there is no affiliation. However, I recommend customers read the book which is mainly about how to rank your best customers and identify your special secret sauce. The three main aspects are:

  1. Discovering and document your immutable laws.
  2. Completing a customer assessment spreadsheet.
  3. Visualizing your sweet spot analysis.

Our top three immutable laws are variations of Elvis Pelvis, No Jerks Allowed, and Blood Money. Streamlining technology shakes up most industry norms. You can’t change crazy or jackassery and life is too short to deal with them. We make high commitments to customers and improve business, so we obviously expect to be paid.

For customer assessment:

  • List your clients in descending order by revenue.
  • Create columns for Pays Fast, Repeat Revenue, Revenue Potential, Communication, and Fix It.
  • Grade each customer category with A – F.
  • Add columns for Opportunity, Referrals, and History.
  • Place a Y or N in each of these less crucial qualities.
  • Include three more columns for your immutable laws and place X next to each client quality.

Often times, you’ll find customers that communicate well with you and allow you to fix an occasional problem are as valuable as repeat customers. Definitely, make sure multiple people review the assessment to ensure you don’t play favorites to skew the outcome. As you read some of the stories from the book and complete the customer assessment, you’ll likely have some epiphanies when filling in the sweet spot analysis.

Sweet Spot
Mike Michalowicz – The Pumpkin Plan

Now that you have a better strategy, you have a different message with more profitability and happier customers. Then many of the technology roadblocks can also be removed as many become irrelevant and you can truly focus on what is important.

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