Why do attitudes towards marketing differ so much?
It is very strange. For many companies marketing is a bad word. An expensive word. A word that is sometimes almost meaningless. For other companies, particularly market leaders, marketing is the driving force of their business. So why the difference in attitudes towards marketing?
The reasons are actually quite simple. And it is often rooted in something as simple as attitude and approach: approach to focus, approach to discipline, and approach to ongoing commitment. And no, it is not always because of the cost of marketing; because marketing does not have to cost “an arm and a leg”.
Focus – marketing can really help management identify exactly who and what they should be focusing on. Very often management suffers from the problem of trying to do too many things, and sometimes they don’t even have really clear objectives of what they are trying to accomplish. When focus is not clear, the effort is too diffused and success is limited. Marketing can really help in this regard.
Discipline – marketing takes discipline because it is detail oriented. It requires testing and evaluation. It requires fine-tuning and detailed feedback from sales and operations. It is inclusive, not exclusive and requires the help and support of numerous parts of the business. Done well, marketing will feel so natural that you will feel that you are not even marketing at all.
Ongoing Commitment – marketing is not about trying a quick hit and moving on. Potential customers do not always respond to the first communication. It may take 2 or 3 or 7 hits before a potential customer bites. That’s why marketing needs to be well thought out and well implemented and committed to – that’s why the big companies have people dedicated to marketing. If smaller companies wish to compete, they need to find a way to commit, but in a different way.
For many companies, particularly smaller companies, right now is survival time. And having the focus, discipline and commitment will enable them to succeed. They can’t spend the same kinds of money on marketing that the big guys do. So they have to be Smarter. More focused. More disciplined. More committed. In a Smarter way.
Ask yourself right now: “Is my approach to my marketing focused? Disciplined? Committed?” If your answer is not a resounding YES to all three areas, you are missing out on the opportunities that may make a huge difference in your business.
SMART Marketing S – Specific: all marketing must be definitive and appropriate, and must have pre-defined outcomes for success. By having the end result in mind you will be able to create something that can also be measured. While at times it may be a stretch, it should always be perceived that it is realistic and reachable. Appropriate may mean different things to different people, so make sure that you understand your audience in this regard. M – Measurable: measuring success or failure is key to understanding whether the investment has been worthwhile. If at all possible, marketing efforts should be built with tools that have measurement in mind. A – Affordable: it is no good developing marketing that a company cannot afford. Creating the appropriate mix that delivers affordability and results is the key to success. Know your budget and what needs to be delivered. And stick to finding the right solution given these budgetary constraints. R – RaMotional (Rational and Emotional combination): a combination of rational and emotional will create the most meaningful and impactful communications. While most decisions are emotional, they are supported by rational justifications. Addressing both will maximize your effectiveness. T – Targeted: know exactly who your target audience is. Make sure that your message is developed to resonate with the defined audience. General messages will not accomplish anything but mediocre results.
SMART marketing will allow you to clearly identify what tactics do not fit with your strategy, and what tactics do. If you review the options open to you and weigh various options against each other using the SMART criteria, many decisions become natural. The challenge often is: what are the various tactics do I need to weigh against each other? This list is sometimes quite extensive and very often business people do not take the time to evaluate various options against each other. That’s where marketing help can be of assistance.
Don’t take the shortcut automatically. It is often the easy way out but not necessarily the SMART way. Being SMART will likely save you money. Get some help if you need to. It’s the SMART way to go.
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