Three ways to making marketing really work (Part 3)
Marketing is about making choices
Many people feel that by just implementing a whole range of marketing tactics and activities, they are doing the right thing. Well, as Sun Tzu has indicated, that may just be the noise before defeat. Without developing a strategy, those tactics could lead to trouble. And especially if the tactics have been developed without consideration for the options or alternatives.
So, just how many marketing tactics are there?
Most people will quote a number ranging for 5 – 20. In fact, that number is woefully short of reality. Normally, when I write a marketing plan I consider over 150 tactics – yes, that’s right, over 150. So STOP and ask yourself right now: “If I am only considering 5-20 tactics, what are the opportunities that I am missing?” Take a few moments to think about the implications of those lost opportunities. Nobody is saying you need to use all 140+ alternatives; however, there is absolutely no cost to you to consider them. So why short-change yourself? Why limit yourself to the tactics that you may be seeing your competitors implement? Think it through carefully and ask yourself: “Am I leading or am I following? What in fact do I want to do – lead or follow? If I want to lead, then I’d better start by becoming more creative”. The choice is quite simple, and it’s in your hands.
The importance of alignment of tactics
When deciding on your tactics, you also have another choice to make. It is a choice of alignment. If some tactics do not support your overall company plan, or your marketing plan and strategy, why would you select it? Which structure do you want to represent your marketing effort?
A firm foundation is critical, and it needs to be built from the bottom, up. So choose carefully. And don’t get caught up by the hype or the latest fad. Make sure your investment is appropriate and gives you the best odds of generating great returns.
Concept of selling vs. buying
Sales is one of the most important components of marketing, and can be seen as a marketing tactic. It’s what makes business actually progress. So where does selling really begin? It starts with ultimately knowing your prospective customer and what motivates them to buy. That knowledge and information provides you with the power to develop an offering that will satisfy their needs. If you have that knowledge, your odds for success go up dramatically. What makes this even more complex is that each prospective customer is motivated by different things, so you really can’t generalize. So, you need to have a really good understanding of customer behaviour as well. Just another added complication. (Watch these three segments of a panel discussion on consumer behaviour to find out more about what motivates consumers)
Remember, a person does not buy something just because you have it to sell. They will be interested in buying ONLY if it satisfies a need that they have – so you need to understand the customer’s needs and what motivates them to buy. It will enhance the odds of you completing a successful sale.
Every investment needs a positive return. So measure everything that you possibly can. No successful marketing campaign should be without some form of measurement. And marketing, through some of the newest digital tools and technologies is slowly edging towards becoming more of a science than an art. Make sure that every marketing effort is designed and developed with measurement in mind. Otherwise you will be missing out on a critical success factor – return on your valuable financial investments.
So where does one begin?
One of the easiest tools to use is the marketing audit. The audit collects current data from the organization and enables the missed opportunities to be highlighted by a trained marketer. The cost is very reasonable and is the wisest investment in marketing that any organization can make. It will set them on the right road to success knowing that the strategic direction of the company has been taken into consideration, thus ensuring that the marketing plan will deliver results that move the organization forward in an approved manner.
Planning is easy once you have a process to follow. The audit provides the discipline to follow that process. It’s one tool that everyone can use.
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About the Author
Neville Pokroy is a principal of Mastermind Solutions Inc. He runs the Marketing practice, which includes strategic marketing planning and execution, and now also includes the Digital Umbrella. Neville has over 25 years experience in corporate marketing and consulting in entrepreneurial businesses across an extensive range of industries. Neville’s special skills include the ability to translate his corporate marketing expertise into a disciplined set of marketing skills ideal for entrepreneurial businesses.
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