Take a lesson from London 2012
A marathon task… One hurdle after another… A race against the clock… For the high jump… How many Olympics-based clichés can you come up with to represent the pressures of producing your personal best marketing plan for the coming year?
One of the biggest pressures involved in writing marketing plans is that ticking clock. When it comes to immovable deadlines, no-one understands the pressure more than the team responsible for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Many naysayers predicted that GB’s long-awaited sporting showpiece would be an unmitigated disaster; instead, they succeeded in delivering a spectacular and inspiring event. So how did they go about it?
Make a list
Since 2005, London knew that they would be faced with the Olympian task of hosting the games. In just seven years, they had to build the venues, accommodate the influx of tourists, build stations, re-route traffic, make sure the torch stayed alight, produce an opening ceremony bigger and better than any that had gone before… oh, and stage more than 300 sporting events for over 10,000 athletes.
It was an Olympian ‘to do’ list in every sense, but it had to be written and they wrote it. Without that list, something vital would have been missed. Your task list won’t be quite as lengthy as Seb Coe’s but the sooner you start writing it, the more useful it will be. What do you need to do? When do you need to do it? How will you know when it’s done? What will be the measure of success? Who will be responsible?
London didn’t pull together its huge team of organisers from scratch. There is a circus of experienced Games Makers who travel the world, from one Olympics to another, bringing their experience to bear in the organisation of each new event. This experience is crucial. There are so many learnings from each Olympic Games and these need to be carried forward.
Where there are gaps in experience, new experts have to be found. The same applies to marketing. Hired expertise may be a cost on the balance sheet but it will save time and deliver a better end product, which, as we all know, will more than balance the books.
Articulate your vision
The Olympic Games is an ever changing festival but there are three things you can count on from any Games. One is that records will be broken. Two is that somebody will do something extraordinary. And three is that, prior to the event, people will say it’ll never come off.
London 2012 had its detractors – before the Games began and everybody got wrapped up in the achievements of TeamGB. “It’s costing too much.” “It’s ripping the soul out of the East End.” “The stadium will never be finished in time.” “I was always more of an Ovett fan, to be honest.” There may have been some truth in some of the criticisms but the vision was bigger than any doubts, and that was enough to push the plan through.
So can you articulate your vision? Make sure your marketing plan is something you truly believe in and people will come on board, drawn by your enthusiasm. Sometimes, though, it takes an objective view to help you bring your vision into sharp focus, so you can communicate it to others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Define your budget
What did the London Olympics cost again? £8.77bn. Phew! But guess what, that was £151m under budget and the organisers were praised for their sound financial management. You might not have a budget quite that huge but if you observe the sound financial management bit, you can still deliver record-breaking results.
The more accurately you can plan and assign your budget in advance, the better returns you’ll get next year. And remember to leave something for contingencies. London had to contend with a new Mayor with a penchant for cycle clips and publicity stunts; who could have seen that coming! And who knows what 2020 might have in store! You don’t want to stumble upon a golden opportunity and find you haven’t got any money left to capitalise.
If your marketing plan for 2020 is feeling like an Olympian ordeal, don’t try to carry the world on your shoulders. Let Clockwise come to your aid and we’ll cross that finishing line together. Never mind Super Saturday, let’s make 2020 a Super Year.
5 rings? Just one ring will get you through to Clockwise. 01737 221221