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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.