In my opinion, businesses must make selling a high priority within an overall plan, but such a plan is likely to be labelled a marketing or business plan. However, as I have indicated in Twitter, I see marketing as considerably more than just selling.
I continually hear from businesses quotes like ‘we have got on really well all these years without marketing and selling so why do we need it now?’ In fact, I met a business yesterday at the Chamber of Commerce Event in Frome who told me categorically that their business does not do any marketing relying on word of mouth to grow their business. When I asked why they had a stand at the event and wasn’t that a part marketing, I was given a rather blank look!
I feel the answer to this sort of questions is that, when a company performs well to date without what they perceive as active marketing, it is unlikely that this will continue as competitor activity will ultimately mean a loss in business. Everyone loses clients periodically or has clients that spend less and it is winning new business that grows an organisation.
Whether you are doing the marketing yourself, motivating others to do it for you or outsourcing it, remember marketing is not just about having a nice brochure or a website with animation (please do not talk to a printer or graphic designer about marketing!). Marketing is about differentiating your business from anyone else. It is not about what your logo looks like; it is about giving your customers a coat hanger for them to hang their coat on and ultimately, I see marketing as 6 key areas:
1.Winning new business – using cold canvass, online marketing, D/M, emarketing etc to open doors.
2.Understanding your market – ensure you have a thorough knowledge of your own market through a SWOT, competitor analysis, discussions with existing and prospective clients.
3.Building your brand – corporate ID, advertising, PR, literature, sponsorship – all are brand builders; elements of the marketing mix + exhibitions, conferences, seminars etc.
4.Planning – you must have a proper plan (use a Consultant if need be!)
5.Managing existing clients – maybe implement an SLA & monitor quality
6.Internal Marketing – for the larger organisation, communicate activity internally.
None of the above is set in stone, they are just my suggestions…….based on nearly 20 years in the communications industry! As always, I say to people that anyone can learn marketing, but it takes a lifetime to get right and ultimately, it is an essential part of business and should not be undertaken lightly. Too many business owners seem to think that they can do all these elements. Wrong. There is nothing wrong with building a relationship with an external party and working with them to get marketing (and selling) right and I happen to know of a very good Consultancy!