Marketing is not just being on Facebook. It is not just having a web site. It is not just investing in some CRM. Marketing is not just analyzing your sales month over month. Marketing is not just your ad campaign. Marketing is not just your front line staff.
Marketing also includes the way your product is packaged and sent to your customers. It also includes the way your bills are displayed and your collections message. It includes the way your sales team collaborates with your customers. Marketing is how tidy your entrance way is. Marketing is also the values and mission of your company – are you a good corporate citizen.
Marketing is the collective set of activities that you employ to find and keep customers. Don’t just take my word for it. Peter Drucker said the same thing.
Other experts call this branding. Sure, a brand is the sum of what people say about you when you are not in the room.
So it is really how I defined Marketing.
Semantics aside, how do you know if your marketing is working? How many of you take a structured approach to all these activities. Many larger companies use the Marketing department to find leads for the sales people. And if the leads are no good then Marketing sucks. But then if the leads are good does that not make Sales simply order takers?
My career has been marketing focused with sales and strategy responsibilities. I believe my education and experience allows me to comment on this with some level of expertise.
The first step to determine how well your marketing is working is to audit what you are doing. Just as with the financial position of your company you conduct an annual audit to determine how well you are doing at that point in time, so too should you audit your marketing activities. Before you create a plan you should assess what you did nad how well it worked.
A complete marketing audit includes both an internal and external review. Here are the key categories to focus on:
- Business and economic environment
- The market
- CUSTOMERS – this is absolutely critical!!!!!
- The competition
- their strengths and weaknesses
- their customer base
- total sales by product/service by geography by customer
- marketing mix – the 4Ps
I have 100’s of questions assembled over time that I use with my clients. I will be condensing some into downloads in the next month to be available on my website.
Your marketing efforts have a major focus on your customer. Therefore, marketing should also be driving the corporate strategy. If not, what is your corporate strategy focused on?
Starting with a marketing audit allows you to zero base your activities each year. This will allow you to assess what is working and not and also uncover the reasons why/why not. This context and understanding is crucial to running an effective marketing program.
Marketing is not about chasing shiny objects like social media in your search for the silver bullet, unicorn (insert cliche here). Marketing is about discipline and understanding. You gain understanding by asking questions and assessing the answers and looking for clues to help improve the delight factor of your product or service.
I found it interesting these past couple of weeks as more Facebook execs are saying Facebook is addictive and not good for young people. The CEO of Sales Force said Facebook should be regulated like cigarettes because it is addictive. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said he will not let his nephew use social media. And these are but a few stories.
Why do you want to risk everything on a “too good to be true” type solution? This is not a sprint and it is not a marathon. Life, and your company’s journey, is a series of short sprints that add up to a type of marathon.
John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success has Industriousness and Enthusiasm as the cornerstones. Applying this to a marketing mindset means you can work hard, continue to know and grow, and show some fun while moving forward.
Following this approach to assessing what was and feeding it into your plan, what will be, and sprinkling with a liberal dose of hard work and enjoyment will lead you to implementing a successful marketing program.
And next year when you conduct your audit you will know what you need to continue to do and what should be adjusted or eliminated.
Do this and you will extend your tenure as a marketing leader in your company.