Marketing. Sales. Planning

Marketing involves a lot more than selling alone and I would always advocate having some sort of plan of action. This will mean that the entire function of marketing not only has a direction, but is committed to and taken seriously by your organisation. Without the right level of commitment, marketing can quickly become tiresome and could lose the necessary motivation needed to succeed.

Marketing should never be perceived as a cost. The process of marketing should be seen as an investment and you should feel confident that everyone is aware that no quick fix is being attempted, but rather a long-term effort. Marketing requires grafting and although a quick fix is quite often a desirable outcome, marketing can take time to yield. In fact, I was told early in my career that successful brands are measure in decades rather than years.

So, what is the plan? What is it you want to achieve? Doubtless increased sales will figure in your objectives somewhere, but what type of sales? Where would these sales come from – new client acquisition or cross/up selling existing clients? What do you want to tell these people, when and how? What is your “offer” to them? Why would they buy from you?

Yes, there are lot of questions to answer when it comes to planning your marketing, but by peeling back the layers, you’ll be forming that plan. As it starts to come together, you’ll also need to look at other elements like budget, any seasonal fluctuations, the allocation of internal resources etc and this may well require the engagement of an external specialist. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help! Employing an external marketing specialist who will have an independent view of your company and plans can make a huge difference. Make your marketing plan and objectives “SMART.” Simple. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timed.

Some organisations have an internal marketing function or attempt to cover the area of marketing under “Business Development.” Be warned BD experts are not necessarily marketing experts. BD people (especially from the FMCG sector) are very good relationship builders and “closers.” They are able to build rapor with prospects quickly and gain trust, but they need elements like a strong website, a clear brand, marketing material, an effective communication strategy so that your organisation is seen as a centre of excellence. These elements fall under the heading of effective marketing!

Similarly, I have come across professional services organisations who allocate marketing to a junior partner as some sort of reward (or punishment!). That person then has this additional role tasked to them and then the added pressure of their day job + this new role of marketing. In my experience this doesn’t work well and doesn’t show that commitment I touched on earlier in this article!

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