I am going to start off today’s post with a statement that may offend a lot of people – marketing is the only function that brings in business to an organisation. Without marketing, there won’t be an organisation
Don’t get me wrong, when I use the term ‘marketing’, I am not referring to the marketing department, though they should be the main driver of marketing efforts organisational-wide. When I say ‘marketing’, I am referring to every single contact point with a customer or a potential customer.
Marketing, according to dictionary.com, is defined as
The total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and sellingdictionary.com
There is some accuracy in this definition, in the words ‘total of activities’, but I prefer John Jantsch’s definition (side note, I highly recommend you to read his book – Duct Tape Marketing):
Getting someone who has a need to know, like, and trust youJohn Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing
With this definition in mind, marketing encompasses a plethora of things that are not limited to the marketing department, it could be:
- The script that the receptionist uses when they pick up the phone
- The information which is conveyed in your invoice
- Your company’s website
- The ‘special offer’ for your next visit that is printed on your receipt
- Your marketing brochures
- Your business signboard
- Your business letterheads
- Your HR recruitment advertisements
- Your sales kit
- The uniform that the cleaning lady wears
- The sales process that is used by your salespersons
- Your name cards
- The bumper sticker on your car
- …and literally everything else that might come in contact with other people
The whole objective of an organisation’s marketing activities is to get someone who has a need (your target audiences) to know (brand awareness), like (brand consideration and potential purchase), and trust you (brand preference)
To achieve that, there are 2 extremely important things that you, as a marketer, must get right, they are:
- Crafting the right marketing strategy
- Persistence in your marketing efforts
Crafting the right marketing strategy
If this is not done right, all other marketing activities will fall out of place. Crafting the right marketing strategy involves a tremendous amount of work.
You will need to have in-depth knowledge of your brand – what it stands for and planning how to communicate your brand goals to your consumers.
You will need to have deep understanding of your consumers – who they are, what your product or services mean to them, what are their lifestyles, believes, and also behaviours.
You will need to know your competition – who they are, how are you different from them, what are their strategies, how do they reach out to their customers
You will need to know the ever-changing trends of your industry – are there risks of leapfrog technologies that will make you obsolete, are there upcoming trends that you can exploit and seize, and many more
Crafting the right marketing strategy is also crucial for the second part of the equation – persistence. If the first step is done wrong, the second step will only amplify it
Persistence in your marketing efforts
Have you ever heard of the rule of 7? It says that on average, a customer needs to see a marketing message 7 times before he buys a product. In this time and day, where everyone else is competing for our attention 24/7, I can only imagine that the number of times a marketing message needs to be repeated is way more
How long do you think will take a customer to be exposed to your marketing message 7 times? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? This is why it’s so important to be persistent in your marketing efforts. For marketing results to show, it takes time, and it takes persistence, and it takes a strong marketing strategy
This is also an issue that I have observed with many SME business owners. The first month into their marketing efforts, they panic due to the lack of results and either pivot or stop marketing altogether. When they do so, two things will happen. First, no marketing = no new customers. Second, they have scattered marketing messages that makes it very hard for their customers to register
Having said all this, it’s not easy to be persistent with your marketing efforts without knowing whether it will work, and it’s even scarier if it’s your own business and livelihood at stake. But trust in the process and trust in the amount of work that you have put into carving your marketing strategy and it will pay off.
I had a similar experience recently that might put your mind at ease. I identified cruise packages as one of our business focus and put up a plan to advertise it. Our marketing efforts started since December 2018 and the results were average. It didn’t make any sense to me because cruise packages were selling like hot cakes with other competitors that are longer in the market. I stuck to my plan and constantly tweaked it for minor improvements. After 4 months of consistent marketing, the results came, we had a gush of cruise packages sign up in early April, making it the second highest monthly sales for cruise packages since our travel fair last year
So fellow friends and entrepreneur, I urge you to put in the time and effort to craft a strong marketing strategy, and I wish you the persistence and trust to see through your plan
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you if you have other marketing strategies to share!