What do you think of when you think of marketing? Websites? Facebook? Twitter? Magazine ads? Flyers, posters etc? These are all possible vehicles or channels for promoting your business and it may be tempting to think that if you are using these, then you are effectively marketing yourself, but more important than the channels are the key messages you need to convey.
Whilst great marketing will greatly assist in achieving higher sales, when thinking about this from within our own business, we need to first consider key questions such as:
Answers to questions such as these form the basis of your competitive difference or value proposition and are essential to the marketing messages.
At the same time, before any marketing initiatives are undertaken, it is important to have a good Sales Plan that clearly defines the target market(s), pricing and expected sales revenues (so from an internal perspective, sales precedes marketing, but externally it appears the other way round). This ensures alignment and focus on how the sales will be achieved.
Once this is done, it is useful to create a simple Marketing Plan that defines which channels will be used in support of the target sales along with the associated costings and time-frames. A key thing to bear in mind is that marketing should be viewed as an investment, not an expense. This means that you should expect a return on your marketing dollars otherwise why spend it?
Ian Ash, AInstIB
Managing Director, OrgMent Business Solutions