• Marketing - a prerequisite for growth

  • Is business growth inextricably linked to the need for effective marketing?

    I posed this question to a number of colleagues and they had interesting perspectives, all of which pointed back to what marketing really is:

    Marketing is the thinking part of selling – deciding what products to sell at what price, with what channels of distribution and how to promote them.   It is a planning, positioning function.

    Let’s see what those comments were and how they really do reflect right back to the above definition:

    “Professional marketing approach is definitely important but I think the quality of products (or services) are more important. If you have poor product or bad services, no matter how good the marketing approach is, the business would eventually go down.  But professional marketing is a good catalyst for good products or services”. – AGREE. Marketing is the catalyst for good products or services.  One of the most important roles of marketing is to develop products or services that are relevant and desired by the customer.

    “What needs to happen is that to grow your business, you have to outservice your competition, and you have to market in a manner that your prospective clients understand the value in purchasing your product offering, and can trust you and it. It is with the increased trust and belief in value, that the business will grow. There has to be a sound marketing campaign to support this so that it is in the forefront of your target market”. – AGREE.  Once again, marketing is being identified with customer service.  And communicating and delivering that kind of service is critical to success.

    “Look at Apple vs. RIM as an example……As an investment professional success is achieved more through a strong marketing program than it is via plain old knowledge”. – AGREE.  At the end of the day that knowledge and differentiation needs to be communicated to your market.

    “It is my belief that a professional marketing approach is most definitely key to an organization’s success, but more importantly strategic alignment within the entire organization is the key to business growth. Marketing may be the wheels of the bike, but it can’t go anywhere without a strong frame and a good rider that knows how and when it is time to change gears! In reality most young companies cannot execute their professional marketing plans without the funding to do so”. – AGREE.  Alignment to the rest of the organization is key, because marketing actually touches everyone in the organization, one way or another.  Example: the guy packing the product in the warehouse needs to make sure that when the box is opened the product appears in good condition and is not broken.

    “I believe the strongest form of marketing is good old fashioned “word of mouth” marketing. We are all more likely to believe (and then act on) the comments of a friend about a company or product than we are to believe the splashy ads that a company produces. And today, more than ever, word of mouth matters! With social media, a customer can reach hundreds, if not thousands of customers in seconds, and share their experience. So be sure that your customers are talking well about you, your company and your product. Because if they’re not, all the money spent on marketing campaigns is wasted”. – AGREE. In this instance marketing is reputation and communication.  But what are you communicating – surely the message is just as important and really understanding the message is crucial in communication.  And that is critical in the planning of marketing.

    I find that people often jump to the answer or a conclusion before really examining the facts and asking relevant questions.  It’s probably a sign of the times that people are stressed and pressured into making quick decisions so that they can move on to the next big decision.  But let’s not forget what Sun Tzu, a great Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher (and author of The Art of War) once said:

    “Strategy without tactics is a slow route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat!”

    Be careful not to create so much noise that it prevents you from winning the battle.

    So what do we learn from this?  True Marketing is one of the most diverse areas of business that touches almost every other part of the business. As such, if one wishes to grow the business, take some time and consult a marketer who has a strategic insight (not one that sees marketing in the same light as communications).  That insight will provide a perspective that is unlikely to have been considered before.  Allow the marketer to ask the questions that will provide YOU with new insight – after all, if the marketer can get YOU to think differently, more creatively, more strategically, then a new paradigm can be created in which to manage and grow the business.

    Marketing is serious business

    About the author: Neville Pokroy