While talking with a prospective customer, I learned that he struggles in a difficult marketing ecosphere. He works for a small family-owned company. What is his struggle? He must implement marketing for the firm’s services however, there is no clear agreement between the owners on marketing strategy and priorities.
As he told the story to me, on an almost weekly basis, he gets a new directive from one of the owners that countermands the previous week’s orders from the other owner. Many of us have worked with companies like this. The problem is (besides owners who don’t agree on marketing priorities) is the expectation that marketing will “pay off” tomorrow.
Many people are confused. They don’t know the difference between marketing and promotions.
A company’s marketing is a strategic approach that directs all their activities based on a set of priorities that have been built around explicit goals. Promotions are short term campaigns that fit within marketing plans and help reach goals.
Marketing plans help focus a series of activities or tactics. Promotions are a tactic.
As an example, I’m a homebuilding company whose homes are small entry-level, bungalows designed to appeal to first-time home-buyers. So, my marketing is then based on a series of strategic decisions to build a product that is appealing to these buyers. My homes incorporate all the features that my buyers desire, and I place advertising or achieve earned media in outlets where that buyer directs their attention. My strategies may include monthly promotions designed to call attention to the features of my houses or catch the attention of my prospective customers.
Marketing is based on a positioning statement and is supported by a plan that by months, or quarters, works to achieve the interest of the buyer or customer.
When you change directions weekly, you confuse the customer, you upset your marketing strategies and fail to achieve your goals.
You should tweak your marketing’s direction and focus to get even higher performance, but avoid disrupting it on a regular basis with an entirely new strategy.
photo credit: flickr user db photographs