My start in the direct marketing field was in the dark ages. Spreadsheets to plan and analyze were created with paper, pencil, and a calculator. I started in data and lists, key-punch cards and main frames. After I discovered the potential of direct mail, I became a mail order catalog manager. The job was to select merchandise, write copy, supervise creative, plan list strategy, get the catalog in the mail and then analyze results. Over and over to get 18 catalogs a year out. Catalogs were growing like crazy, adding pages and circulation until everyone in America seemed to get piles of catalogs every week. 

After several company and job changes from marketing director through vice president, I was asked to start a direct marketing division for a public company. I needed to quickly create a business plan with the financial results for CEO review. VisiCalc – the first spreadsheet program – had just come out. I scrambled to learn VisiCalc and an Apple II computer at the same time. VisiCalc was a godsend. Other spreadsheets soon followed: Lotus 123, a couple others and Multiplan, which became Excel, worldwide standard it is today .

The first iteration of Marketing Profit Plan, known as Profit Smart, was in 1998 and was Excel based. I had left the corporate job world and have used it as a consultant ever since. Over the years working on client businesses and marketing plans and programs of every type it evolved to what it is today.

The increased power of Excel and Visual Basic means that MPP can accomplish with one person what I have seen a client need 4 people and mid-range computer to accomplish. No other off-the-shelf system that I know of is as powerful. MPP flexibility can create a one-page financial summary for the annual business plan or a campaign with hundreds of key codes. All with a calculation of the bottom-line profits of every advertisement key code, key-word or group, campaign, or time period depending on your chosen view.

There has long been a call for marketing to be accountable for measurable results. Every MPP plan starts from and includes the key drivers that determine response and calculate the P&L results.

We will be building the website “guidance” posts section with information to demonstrate the ways you can use MPP. We hope you find value and knowledge there. Mostly we hope using MPP increases your marketing program’s profitable from day one.

Steve Stuart

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