Sales and marketing – you CAN do it!

I’ve written a number of posts associated with sales and marketing, but Bath Marketing Consultancy has had a number of meetings recently with clients and prospects who have indicated that boosting sales is their key requirement and I think it is important that we examine how the 2 initiatives interact.

Sales is defined by Wikipedia as – 8e34c-sales-marketing-funnel

A sale is the act of selling a product or service in return for money or other compensation. Signalling completion of the prospective stage, it is the beginning of an engagement between customer and vendor or the extension of that engagement.

Marketing is defined by Wikipedia as –

Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling the product or service. It is a critical business function for attracting customers.

To me sales, therefore, is an outcome of marketing. i.e sales is something that happens where marketing is the continuous process that facilitates it. Yes, marketing can and does play a major part in influencing a companies’ sales, but simply “doing some marketing” is not an instant route to increased sales! Marketing is very much an ongoing element to your business that has a start, a middle but no end.

However, what I would suggest is that, if your company simply wants more sales, you look at the offer you are making to the market first to make sure that the way in which you market the company will make a real and positive impact to your sales. Questions to ask yourself could well be……

Does the market you are talking to really exist?
Do some street and online research if need be to see what your target actually wants. After all, there is no point in making an amazing product that no one will really want (think Dragons Den!)

What is your brand saying about?
Are you coming across incorrectly? Don’t have a quirky logo with a wacky graphic if you are a more corporate type of company.

Is the look and identity really and truly reflective?
Don’t make false claims or say anything you cannot substantiate – “we provide the best service in Somerset….”

Is your USP clear?
Make sure you outline the reasons for people to work with you/buy from you

What platforms are you using to promote your company?
Where are you talking to your audience? There is no point in running a bus inner campaign when your target market are unlikely to use public transport.

What style and/or design you use?
Design is very subjective so don’t get too close to the design. After all, it is unlikely you are your own target audience.

What method and what frequency?
Are you advertising your company/product in the wrong magazine or maybe only advertising twice a year and therefore, are not building up brand awareness.

What are your competitors doing?
You are likely to be releasing your message into a noisy market; make sure you are heard and keep a close eye on your enemies!

Are there likely to be seasonal fluctuations that influence decisions?
An example of which could be a decrease in market size due to a national holiday period

Does each platform require a different approach?
It isn’t often that “one size fits all” and you need to make sure that the platform you use to market yourself is saying the right thing to the right audience. Consumers want to feel special so cut your cloth accordingly!

Is your pricing structure clear and justifiable?
Too cheap and people will be suspicious or not value what you are offering. Too expensive and people will form the wrong opinion of you.

The above are not the full suite of questions I’d want to know the answers to, but try them on yourself, talk to a marketing company who could then put a strategic marketing plan together………………….which will help sales!

 

How to brief an agency

A good briefing of a marketing company in which you can make them fully aware of the marketing background to your situation is crucial to the outcome.

With this in mind, here is a sort of check list of the information Bath Marketing Consultancy suggests you to have to hand for the briefing meeting:

Company background
Your objectives
Your preferred method of communication
Your target market
Their location
What materials
Timing
Budget

This information will go a long way towards giving your marketing company a “full creative brief;” something that will allow your company to really get their teeth into!

Once your marketing company has had time to wave its magical wand, how do you want them to present their ideas back to you? i.e sometimes you may want the information to be presented back in a face to face follow up meeting or you might simply want ideas sent back by email. To be honest, I would always go for the former out of respect for the marketing company as much as anything. Simply getting people to email you their ideas is a little cheeky. In addition, it shows very little commitment from you and your organisation and I am always a little suspicious that such proposal documents could end up being used for others to pitch against.

If your brief was delivered to a number of companies, you might require a formal “glamour parade” presentation of the findings as well as some sort of leave behind document. However, please keep in mind that formal “pitches” delivered by marketing companies can require huge amounts of time and resources allocated by the company and not every marketing company can do this or would want to as it basically falls into the speculate to accumulate category and statistically only 1 in 5 pitches are successful.

On that note, Bath Marketing Consultancy does not do work on spec or pitch work preferring to invest a similar amount of allocated time in getting to know the prospect better, but, when you receive the company’s response, you should evaluate it on the following criteria:

Why
How
Who
How many
Where
What
When
How much

I hope all this helps you the client get the best from a marketing company. Like any “relationship” I feel transparency is key. There is no point in withholding information to your marketing company as without everything, things which could be vital and influence the outcome can be missed.

Also, as a final plea, please respect your marketing company as the ideas they come up with and what they produce really can make the difference to your business!