So, my marketing “plan” for Target is due tomorrow. Target wants to make sure we have a concrete plan to move our products off the shelf, which I can totally respect. I get it, my foot and a half of shelf space could easily go to Shea Moisture or ORS, but Target is placing a bet on tiny little ole tgin, so now I have to take my best shot. Well, I just put the finishing touches on my “plan”, and I think it looks pretty good if I say so myself.
I put the word “plan” in quotes, because with anything, everything is subject to change. Like a business plan, it’s nice to have your thoughts on paper, but you can’t truly “plan” for everything. Still, creating a marketing plan has been a great exercise and has already been useful in giving us somewhat of a framework of what we should do next.
Yes, I’m one of those crazy CEO’s that proofreads every Tweet, reviews every
Facebook post and approves every photo before it goes live
I think marketing is one of our greatest strengths, but right now we’re in the middle of trying to finish up their first purchase order, so it’s hard to switch gears and start working on a marketing plan when you’re like did those 12 oz jars get delivered yet and did anyone find that missing pallet of shipper boxes. But, sometimes the process requires you to do just that. Also, if anyone really knows us, we run a real lean operation—I’m talking a real skeleton crew. It’s like we get stuff done with the fewest people humanly possible. I’ve learned that it’s better to have fewer people take on more job functions, then a lot of people be super specialized. But, more about that at another time.
In any event, after finishing this marketing plan, it looks like the next 6 months will be nothing short of insane. Whereas normally we have the ability to take every day one day at a time, this opportunity really requires a lot of advance planning and having a concrete marketing plan and production schedule for the next six months not just for this one customer, but for all of our customers, both big and small.
If putting the plan together was not enough, now we actually have to start working on what it actually takes to get all of this done. When it comes to social media, we have to have a 90 day game plan for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which means no more scheduling posts on Sunday night for the week. It means launch parties in different cities, PR, pitching magazines, trying to land media appearances on different television shows, etc.
It’s not just the brainstorming and planning that’s hard (yes we all can come up with great ideas to host a rooftop launch party at the hottest spot in Atlanta during the World Natural Hair Show), but once you have all these great ideas on paper, then you have to go and find the money and create a budget to make this, and when I say this I mean print ads, events, tv, social media, etc all work.
It’s a balancing act of epic proportions, and to be honest, I just need a minute to figure it all out.
If anything, it’s a real adventure. I’m feeling a little like Alice in Wonderland in this big old world of black hair.
People always ask me if I’m excited. To be totally honest, I love a challenge and waking up every day feeling like I’m learning something knew. It’s also no secret that competition gets my juices flowing, which is why our products are so good. I want to always create the best stuff out there. But in reality, I’m also a little bit scared. I’m a total control freak, and it’s hard to take on such a big opportunity when you feel like you’re walking down a dark tunnel with a blindfold on not knowing where you’re going to end up. I don’t pretend to have it all figured out! This experience has been a huge leap of faith, and I just stay prayed up and know that right now I have to be in the midst of God’s will, because this thing is so much bigger than me or my mind can even comprehend some days. It’s like we don’t even have real office furniture at the factory. Right now, my desk is a 6′ folding table from Home Deport, and you’re telling me, we’re going to be in 250 Target stores. Somebody pinch me.
Well, back to marketing. If anyone has any PR contacts at:
– Inc Magazine
– Black Enterprise
– Fast Company; or
– Any local or major publications
please let us know. We’re going to need them! I’ve learned early on, it’s better to ask for help then to pretend like I’m some amazing Superwoman who has this all figured out. Let’s do this together.
We are also looking for interns to help with the launch from either an operations or social media perspective. You can click here to learn more.
Stay tuned. There’s more to come.
Mark your calendar. On March 1, 2015, you’ll be able to find us in select Target’s nationwide. Read all about the journey and what’s going on behind the scenes on the blog at www.tginblog.com. For a Target carrying our products in your area, please click here.
Chris-Tia Donaldson is the founder and owner of Thank God It’s Natural, and also the author of the best-selling book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Natural Hair. Follow her on Instagram @tginartural or Facebook @thankgodimnatural.