Posts Tagged ‘strategies’
As the recession deepens (and all those BNI types who still testify that there isn’t a recession, wake up and smell the coffee), businesses are starting to appear a mite desperate. This is when marketing gets a raw deal, especially if the CEOs don’t really understand what marketing is all about.
Looking around and reading the signs, it is beginning to be obvious that companies are waking up that they need to market more online. But their lack of understanding shows that although they furiously update their websites with fancy new designs, they omit to think about the content or how they can communicate better with their customers, namely by interacting with them and getting their feedback through social networking.
If your company is still bogged down in the dark ages, the difference between marketing and sales will still be hazy, muddy and out of date. There is a new concept going about now that may not only confuse, but worry CEOs and Marketing Managers. There is this thing called customer relationship marketing (CRM), and the worst thing is that it happens over a long period of time!
But their balance sheets and cash flow statements are crying out, and the Accounts department report doom and gloom. What to do? The immediate response is to bombard the online marketing world with PPC projects, sales objectives and buy-now strategies. Money is pumped in to make a fast buck – and yes, it works! But only for the immediate future.
But they have forgotten about this CRM thing, which is apparently a real bind because it takes so long to happen. It’s may be really boring, but it is proving to be necessary. Gradually it dawns on them that marketing is a long-term affair, and communicating with prospective clients to really get to know them, understand their needs and desires, work out how they can help them, so that the company becomes a benefit rather than another faceless corporate identity, will have long-term results that can be worked on for many years.
And another thing, it doesn’t cost that much either. Certainly cheaper than a quick blast of PPC when they don’t really know what they’re doing. The ROI may be slower, but the graph is constantly rising, with no signs of those drastic peaks signifying boom and bust, or as Chantal puts it, feast and famine. CRM with its cousin data management will allow further marketing endeavours for future objectives.
And if you know more about what your customers are doing, thinking, saying or whatever, isn’t it easier to adapt your marketing strategies around this? And when the penny drops about social networking, Marketing Managers will begin to realise that here is a place to find out this data with the minimum of fuss and expense, with marketing research tactics at their fingertips and somewhere where people can exercise their natural tendency to chat, communicate, strike up a conversation and create a relationship. With all this at very little cost (except the time taken to monitor it), perhaps this online marketing lark isn’t so far fetched as it previously seemed.
Ad hoc marketing doesn’t work. You can’t send one email newsletter and sit back and expect the phone to ring. You can’t go to one networking meeting and expect everyone there to give you business.
Good marketing works when you keep doing it. And to keep doing it and doing the right things, you need a plan. But what do you put into your Marketing Plan? Here’s the outline that I always use:
Situation – where are you now? When products and services do you sell? Who are your competitors? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are the opportunities and threats affecting your business? You need to know where you are before you can move on.
Objectives – where do you want to be? Think about your short, medium and long term goals.
Strategy – how are you going to get from where you are to where you want to be? Will you sell more of your existing services or create new ones? Will you sell more to your existing clients or look for new ones?
Targets – who are your ideal clients? What problems are they struggling with that you can help them to solve? What makes them tick?
Tactics – what marketing activities will you use? There are so many that you need to be selective and plan what you’re going to do, when and how.
Budget – how much can you afford to spend and how much will all the different activities cost?
Timings – think about how long different activities will take, what you can do for quick results and what will require more time.
Resources – can you do all the marketing, or do you need to get help with certain aspects of it?
Measurements – you need to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. The only way to know what to do is to measure all your marketing.
If all that sounds a bit confusing then come to a workshop I’m running on 7 April 2011 at The Elephant in Pangbourne, Berkshire. The workshop, being delivered jointly with Rob Pickering from ActionCoach, will take you through the planning process. At the end of the half day session, you’ll be able to walk away your very own Marketing Plan that you can use to grow your business this year. Click here for more information.