What’s your plan B?
I made a mistake.
To explain how this happened, I need to take you back in time, only a couple of months.
The broadband in our office suddenly stopped working. After fiddling with the smart hub, cables and settings, I called BT to report the fault.
They wouldn’t speak to me. The phone line and broadband at the office is an account in the name of our landlord, a lovely chap who spends a great deal of time out of the country.
After a few days of calling around and verifying me, BT would finally speak to me. When they did, their service was excellent, and we resolved the issue together in a matter of minutes. Great.
The experience though was a wakeup call, and I realised I needed to get a new broadband line fitted in the office, in my name, in case this ever happened again.
I duly placed the order, for superfast fibre, and all was good in the world.
Until a new fibre broadband company moved into the village, we got chatting; they convinced me to cancel my order and place a new order with them, offering the same pricing terms but a much faster connection. Plus it would mean supporting a local business, something that’s a big part of my ethos.
So I cancelled the original fibre broadband order, placed a new one with the local business, and waited.
Unfortunately, the connection to the village for the local company, that was initially scheduled for mid-June, was delayed. With our existing broadband working fine, I was happy to wait.
Until the start of the week, when our broadband went down again.
Once again, BT refused to speak to me. Once again, my landlord and his PA are out of contact, slowing down my ability to get the issue resolved.
We have a pretty comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place at Bamford Media, as you might expect.
With some fresh timescales quoted this morning, we quickly decided to revert to our ‘Plan B’, moving some critical items of kit to our homes, so we can get on with things until the Internet is reconnected.
It’s not the ideal solution, as it’s far better to be working together as a team under one roof, with all of our tools in place. But it will do until our new fibre broadband is connected.
It did, however, get me thinking about the importance of a Plan B.
Once our Internet is fixed (when a new fibre broadband line is installed under my name), we will be putting some redundancy in place in the form of a second line, on a different network and from a different provider.
There’s a need for a Plan B with marketing too.
What works well today can, very suddenly, stop working in the future. When that happens, you need to be able to switch quickly to an alternative that delivers comparable results.
The trouble is, new approaches often take time to establish, optimise and deliver.
In practical terms, you should be allocating say 80% of your marketing budget and time to your primary strategy. But make sure the other 20% is testing new approaches, developing new channels, and building that redundancy into your business in case it’s ever needed.
If your Plan B is never needed, that’s great! It can still deliver positive results in the background, to supplement your Plan A.
And if disaster strikes (an existing channel suddenly closes or dries up, your primary source of referrals retires, or something prompts damage to your local reputation, for example), then you can reasonably seamlessly switch to your Plan B.