What is ‘proper marketing’

You say ‘marketing’ and many people will think of social media, blog writing and advertising. That sort of thing. Some people I’ve spoken can’t even put their finger on what marketing is. Love it or hate it, it has a veil of mystery drawn over it.

The truth is far less glamorous. Marketing is a kind of planning. Someone once said ‘marketers are optimistic project managers’. If you’ve never worked in a large marketing department, you won’t know how true this is.

At its highest level, what you’re aiming to achieve in relation to your customers (your mission) is marketing.

How you achieve that- what you’re offering, in what way etc. and those sorts of decisions constitute your marketing strategy.

The lowest level is the tactical decisions. This is how you implement your marketing strategy.

Traditionally marketers have split this element into the 4 p’s- Price, Product, Place and Promotion (with the addition of People, Process and Physical Evidence for service-based businesses). These have been paraphrased below as Pricing, Product, Distribution and Communications.

Social media, blogging and advertising are all marketing communications. 

Look at what a small part of marketing the communications element is! 

3 levels of Marketing

Adapted from a presentation by Mark Ritson

Communications is where all the buzz is.

Despite being such a small part of what marketing is, it’s communications that hogs the spotlight. It’s also where all the shiny objects are. “Webinars will bring you twelvety million sales in a second!” 

Many business owners are spending the vast majority of their time and energy on comms and that’s why marketing can seem so foggy and jumbled.

If marketing is a map of where you’re going, and strategy are the transport you’re taking to get there, then these comms are what you’re packing in your suitcase. How do you know what to pack if you haven’t worked out where you’re going or how you’re going to get there yet?

Now, you may be thinking “Eek! I’m already overwhelmed by all the options, I don’t need more!” But I promise you, being clear on your mission and deciding on your strategy will not take you long. You probably already know what product or service to offer and how you’re going to help your customers.

So what are you going on about then, Janine?!

Having the mission and your strategy clear will make the decision making on what communications channels to use SO MUCH easier.

When you’re running a very small business, you can put together a marketing strategy really quickly. Make it clear and stick to it.

Then be strict with yourself. How much resource do you really have? If it’s just you, having one objective to focus your energies on per quarter (every 3 months) is probably realistic. Pouring all your efforts into one thing will mean that you will smash that target and go skipping into the next 3 month period with a spring in your step and a fa la la la la!

Another little juicy gem that isn’t talked about enough, but that is fundamental to marketing processes, is reporting. I was always taught, if you can’t measure it, don’t bother doing it. 

Don’t get caught up on post views or video watches; how many sales are you making? Or whatever is the key objective is for your 3 month period.

Only by tracking the success (or otherwise) of our efforts can we see what is working and do more of it. If it’s not working? Change it or even stop it! If you don’t, that’s where your wasted time, energy and money is pouring away.

I bet 90% of people reading this post will already have a marketing strategy, whether you know it or not. Either way, I’ve put together a 5 Minute Marketing Strategy download

If you find that you can easily answer all the questions, then congratulations! You have a marketing strategy. Use it as a beacon to light your path forwards. It’ll show you what temptations are lying in wait to lure you off track, but you’ll then see them for what they are. Distractions.

If you struggle to fill it in, then it’s time to treat yourself to a day off to do a good bit of head scratching. Why did you set up your business in the first place? Who are you helping? How would they choose to be served? Often we find ourselves back at the beginning; having tried a string of dead ends. I certainly did. But that’s a topic for another time!

Janine Coombes offers done-with-you marketing plans to small businesses who are fed up of having no time and of feeling out of control of their promotional efforts. If you’re telling yourself ‘I should be doing this! I should be doing that!’ drop Janine a line at janine@janinecoombes.co.uk and she’ll make all of those nasty ‘shoulds’ go away.

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