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Month: September 2014

You need a strategy

So what is it you do in marketing?

A common question I regularly find myself answering… Marketing means so many things to different people and so often, all people see is the most obvious public face of marketing – the events, the PR and the business awards!

To do marketing strategically in line with the overall direction of the business, there is a lot more to it before you can even think about all of those things. The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s definition is “the management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”

So for me it is about understanding who your customer is, building a profile of who they are and understanding what is important to them, so you can understand what makes them buy your product or service. Until you understand your market, how can you develop your messages of what to say about your product/service, or where and how to communicate those messages?

The strategic marketing approach includes these steps:

Step 1 – Understanding your market. Conduct market research, which can include website, social media, industry and general media coverage, through customer surveys. Don’t forget about internal knowledge from your staff, particularly those who have been in your industry a long time. They will have a breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding.

Step 2 – Identify your strategy. Have you got an overall strategy? Growth? Which markets? Profit margin?

Step 3 – Prepare your marketing plan – this is your action plan of what communication activity you are going to carry out and when. Plan your campaigns around your product/service launch or your industry tradeshow. Be clear to set your objectives – are you raising your profile or driving sales leads?

Step 4 – Implement your action plans. Carry out your plans. That piece of PR should then be shared on social media and in an e-shot to existing clients and your target clients, followed up a phone call from the internal contact that has that existing relationship.

Step 5 – Report and evaluate results. Having carried out their campaign, many companies don’t actually report the results, or more importantly, evaluate them. Whether you staged an event, some PR, an e-shot or a social media campaign, you should be looking at the success rates afterwards. You need to know how many people responded and whether they were the right people.

Step 6 – Take corrective action. This is another important step many businesses miss, having reported the results, look at amending your campaign, time of day, where you advertise etc.

Jackie Cook found her own route for success by Jo Davison, Sheffield Star

Thousands of South Yorkshire 16 year-olds must have felt their future hopes had either been raised or dashed by their GCSE results last month.


But Jackie Cook, marketing expert and Business Monthly’s new columnist, knows better than anyone that success in life is not governed by early academic achievements.


She left school at 16 and made her own way in life.


Says Jackie: “I’m proof there is a different career route to the traditional one of A levels and university route. In recent years there has been increasing emphasis across many industries for the need for practical and experience-based skills. It is something I care passionately about demonstrating to future generations.


“I didn’t want to stay on for A levels and go to university like most of my classmates. I wanted to be a secretary and left school to go to Chesterfield College for a year to study for the relevant qualifications. At 17 I was thrilled to get a job as an office junior.


“I worked for an American company based in Chesterfield and after a year I was approached by a larger local firm, The Beverage Company.


“I joined as Junior Secretary but by the time redundancy hit three years later I could cover five different office admin roles.”


She was unemployed for just a week before landing a secretarial and HR role with a Sheffield firm of accountants and business advisors.


When she became the company’s marketing assistant she started evening classes for her Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) qualifications, eventually gaining an MSc in Marketing Management at Sheffield Hallam, always studying in the evenings and on weekends around her full-time job.


In 2008 she went to engineering company DavyMarkham in Darnall, then to AVK UK, one of the world’s largest international valve manufacturing groups.


Armed with years of experience, she set up her own thriving company, CQ Marketing Services, which offers marketing and PR expertise to a broad range of clients.


Jackie is also a key face and facilitator at The Lyons Den, a LinkedIn based networking group set up by DavyMarkham’s former MD Kevin Parkin ,and Alan Lyons from Creative Sheffield.


She is aiming to give strategic marketing advice to SMEs looking for growth in her Business Monthly column, which starts in this edition on Page 11.