How would Peter Drucker develop a marketing plan? 12 ideas

Peter Drucker
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work” – Peter Drucker
Peter Drucker’s succinct truths are one reason he is regarded as the father of modern marketing and management. In The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization, his requirements for every business are to know

  1. What is our mission?
  2. Who is our customer?
  3. What does our customer value?
  4. What are our results?
  5. What is our plan?

With so many new tools, tactics and data to provide customer insights and measure results, how would Peter develop a marketing plan today? Here are 12 ideas.

  1. Management by objective works if you first think through your objectives. Ninety percent of the time you haven’t: Peter was more concerned with acting on learning than being right. Today, he would likely be an advocate of agile marketing, a process that demonstrates the ability to adapt/change to market, customer, and competitive signals. Turning that learning into actionable insights.
  2. The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer: His foundational principle for every brand would be at the core of the marketing plan. Today, this means his marketing plan might include CRM, Social CRM and, to keep and retain customers, possibly a Loyalty Club, Gamification and a Mobile App
  3. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself: To gain insights into customer behavior, Peter might look into Big Data with the aim of helping make better business decisions.
  4. The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said: As 90% of all purchase decision begin online, Peter would likely turn to Google Trends to analyze and interpret customer needs. He would probably regularly check the Google Analytics of his business’s website to understand consumer behavior for his brand and look into some social media monitoring tools for listening purposes.
  5. If you can’t measure it, you can’t measure it: Peter would identify key metrics for growth and set up Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), an actionable scorecard to keep strategy on track. 
  6. What’s measured improves: Once KPI’s are established, Peter would identify the factors and time frame for Return on Investment (ROI).  He would make sure there is consensus around the KPI’s and ROI so stakeholders are accountable.
  7. If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old: It’s unlikely benchmarking, is going to be found in a marketing plan from Peter Drucker. That’s because, benchmarking, is process of comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to industry bests or best practices  from other industries. Said another way, it’s setting the standard for the new from the old way of doing things.
  8. The key to success is for you to make a habit throughout your life of doing the things you fear:   It’s likely a Blue Ocean Strategy is going to be found in a marketing plan founded on Drucker principles. That’s a strategy to challenge everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success, not by battling competitors, but rather by creating “blue oceans” of of uncontested market space ripe for growth.
  9. Whenever you see a successful business, some once made a courageous decision: A Drucker marketing plan would likely be looking to Find the Next “S” Curve. Nothing grows forever. The time to innovate—the innovation window—is when the first growth curve hits an inflection point. How do you know when you’re hitting the inflection point? You never know. So the best companies are forever paranoid and make innovation a continuous process.
  10. The best way to invent the future is to create it: Points 8 + 9 = 10.
  11. Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes, but no plan: The purpose of this post is to be of help and guide you. Hopefully, it does, but whether it does or doesn’t, you still need a plan.
  12. No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it. In teaching, we rely on the ‘naturals,’ the ones who somehow know how to teach: I teach the principles of Peter Drucker. Why? His wisdom means something to me and is a better way to bring a brand to market. It’s in plans for our clients at BarnRaisers and part of my MBA teaching at Rutgers CMD.

If you’re a fan of Peter Drucker (as I am), I hope you got something from these Drucker-ism. Did you?



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  2. MichaelSchein1

    Great minds think alike.

    1. robpetersen

      Thanks Michael. Loved your perspective on Drucker’s work and its timeless sexiness. Thanks for reaching out.  Rob

  3. MichaelSchein1

    Thanks, that’s a great compliment. Big fan of your post as well, Rob!

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