Often when I speak with people about my work I get the impression still that there is a lot of mystery around marketing and how it works. The perception can often be that marketing is the magic wand that solves a companies problems and that no one is really sure what works and what doesn’t and that marketers have all the answers.
I suspect, like many other professions, marketeers have been happy to let this misconception prevail. We all like to think we know something that someone else doesn’t. I recently spoke to a businessman who had built a successful and profitable business over 30 years he said to me, “I don’t understand this marketing stuff”. My answer to him was that he had been doing it for over 30 years and just had not labelled it as such. It is simple really, understand your product or service and the benefits it brings, match this to customer need and tell them about it. This might sound a little trite but I genuinely believe that marketing is about pairing common sense with business acumen.
When I am talking to businesses I find that the owners, managers and staff know what the business needs, where it is doing well, what it needs to improve. They often have the ideas about how to market their business and what needs to be done. Where they can fail is having the structure to plan and the resources to deliver. This can be the same in small organisations with no dedicated marketing resource and in larger firms who have invested in marketing teams.
That is why I have tried to simplify how I approach giving marketing advice or support. My 3 key tips for making marketing work are:
1. Understand the business. It may sound obvious but you would be surprised how many marketers do not. Unless you know what the business does and is trying to achieve, what its products and services are, how they are delivered, who the customers are and what they want, you will never be able to market it successfully. Do you know what products are selling well, what the profitability is, how they contribute to the overall picture of the business? Do you understand the sector, what the trends are, what your competitors are doing? How much money is wasted on marketing activity that brings little or no results? Often this stems from not understanding what the business really needs. The board, directors and or management are more likely to respect your opinions and ideas if they come from a basis of sound knowledge of their business.
2. Take time to plan. This can be difficult particularly if you are under pressure to be seen to be doing something, lots of business owners are entrepreneurial and don’t like to “waste” time planning. I have lost count of the times I have heard “just get on with it”, but without planning you can often get bogged down in the minutiae of an activity without seeing the overall picture. If you don’t plan and set objectives, how can you be sure at the end of the activity that it has been a success. Planning also means that you can schedule activity over time, you can link relevant activities together, forward plan for important events, forecast budgets and have a consistent approach.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate. I can not stress enough how important this is. This is what I do. Before: communicate what you are going to do, why you are going to do it, what outcomes you expect. During: communicate what you are doing, how it is going, what issues you are having, how you are addressing them. After: communicate what you have done, what you have achieved, what you have learnt and what you are going to do next. I have two reasons for this approach 1. It demonstrates to your boss, client and/or colleagues that you have ideas, are doing something and are providing value. I have seen people doing great work but not telling anyone what they are doing, why they are doing it or what they have achieved. The belief can often develop that you are not doing anything. 2. It allows your boss, client and/or colleagues to contribute, give feedback and guide you if you’re on the wrong track. This collaborative way of working always yields better results and people buy into what you are trying to achieve if they have had some stake in it.
If you think you or your business could benefit from some straightforward marketing advice then please call me on 07827393181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org