It’s a Monday morning. 9.00am, the clock starts ticking: are all the cogs in your marketing machine there to add money to your profit? If bubonic plague struck, could a marketing auditor with their clip board tick off all the assets both tangible and intangible in your company? Are they auditable, fit-for-purpose and fired up to deliver campaigns, projects and deliver your strategies, tactics, and objectives? What is all this stuff on how to do marketing? Sometimes companies can miss the obvious, some of it essential when it comes to having the tools to do marketing and sales.
What do you do?
In the end, it is about how to do marketing using assets you create, improve or buy-in from outside to help you. At a recent accelerator event, where new companies were getting help from us at Dorset Business Angels, on how to pitch for funds for their business, a number of them were missing telling us obvious information. I asked: “what exactly do you do? I don’t understand, please tell me in a couple of simple sentences.” I also checked did they have case studies, and some helpful resources online. What were their ways to get their products to market? These challenges are not restricted to new companies. Most organisations have gaps in their marketing, and they regularly need a review, which once completed highlights sometimes seemingly obvious things to do to provide opportunities for improvement.
What Kind of things are we talking about? Marketing Assets
Companies vary in how they do marketing, dependent upon the sector they are in. And also, how they choose to invest in marketing. The history of every company is unique, so will not follow a business school template. However, to give you some ideas on what marketing assets might be included in the inventory checklist at a top level, here is a starting point.
I have put People, even before the product or service. Starting with the company founder, CEO or top team. When investors look at an organisation, they are undoubtedly looking at the products and services. But they know it is about the leadership capability to cope with challenges even with the best products. And when things fail, which they will, to sort things out. And in marketing to work together across the organisation. Because marketing these days is a broad area of activities not restricted to the old “4 P’s”.
2. Distribution Partners, Sales and Training Materials
How you get to market will vary. In some cases, it can be completely dependent upon distributors, franchises, a salesforce, retailers, and the people in the distribution network. These arrangements and network will be critical assets and opportunities which require management, funding and attention. Contracts, licenses, marketing, training, work, and know-how build up over time.
3. Products, Services and Brands
Is there a clear description, inventory and offer for each product, service and brand? Any good salesman and Brand Manager knows there is a difference between what something is and the benefits. Indeed, the better copywriters and marketers bring brands alive, looking for what the offer is. What does it offer you, what is the “you” factor. And in all materials both hard copy and online, is the offer written upfront, early in the copy? Are you using short sentences, and clear interesting text relevant to the target audience? Brand names of course can be incredibly valuable. I will leave brand valuation for another article but the Interbrand site on Brand Valuation gives a good explanation. On a more day-to-day level, the first thing many of us look for when it comes to new products is a domain name – not the same as a brand name, copyright or trade-mark. So, Intellectual Property expertise is another whole area to consider, as well as licenses.
4. Contracts, Customer Assets and Selling the Business
What is the value of a contract? What is the value of a customer? This is always a challenge. In some markets this is easier than others to work out. And looking forward it can be very difficult to forecast. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases demand of salespeople a forecast value with new deals, so you may have this. And many businesses in fact most, will look at their value at some point. Hixsons Business Advisors, where we do marketing, answer the question as to what your business is worth, when people are considering selling their business.
5. Expert Content
We touched on this in the previous paragraph. For each product and service there should be expert content on the product or service itself and the market-place. This is in order to find and nurture prospective leads and prospects, turn them into customers and develop loyalty. The Business Plan will need a clear vision, purpose, strategy, elevator pitch, Unique Selling Propositions, SWOT, marketing mix and implementation plan tactics, KPIs and financial measures. All of which needs to be understood as a background to writing content. Content writing has been taken to new levels in recent years by organisation such as HubSpot, where we are an accredited expert and work with their local agency Intergage to deliver customer journey solutions. And with the concept of creating a persona ie a very clear profile of your ideal customer.
6. Qualified Contacts
Your customers and a strong contact database is a huge asset for your company. You may be lucky enough to have all the information on all leads, prospects, customers, invoices and data in one place: terrific! If not, then you probably do not need telling that ideally it is best to have a database where the MD can look at a contact and see all the relevant information on them: past history, current activity and purchasing and any future opportunities. Every company is different and due to regulation, privacy and so on databases vary. Some are completely linked across marketing, finance and service (relational), whilst others are less flexible. There are security issues too of course. Call us for help and ideas, we have expertise and experts in all aspects for Customer Relationship Management, CRM.
7. Images, Photographs and Videos
Your own images and videos in the context of the stories they tell will be very powerful in how to do your marketing. If you are active on social media, if you engage with clients and use PR and use images effectively then there should be a history of tagged images you can call upon. Using images for Case Studies for example (with customer approval), is incredibly effective and far too often underused.
8. Case Studies and Referrals
Now this really may seem obvious, so why is it now done more often? Probably because people do not know how to do it. What I mean here, is quite literal, the mechanics need to be understood, so let me use bullet points to explain scenarios:
Online or A4 Sheet Company Case Study –
- Ask your customer facing staff e.g. admin’, service personnel and sales for situations you can use – you may need to really push for examples. And remember to thank them.
- Ask the client company for permission, sell them on the benefits
- The Background
- The Problem
- What you did, the solution
- The Result
- Customer happy Quote
- Your Contact Details
So how do you know how good you are by 5pm each Friday
I started off at 9.00am on a fictitious Monday, how about by close of play at the end of the week, how will you know if you have gone through all the above, that you haven’t missed anything? I’d suggest you would have a checklist of your weekly objectives, tasks, short term team strategies and plans. Many organisations are moving to agile, shorter projects, with 2 to 3 weeks maximum length between milestones. In the marketing, we do it is about, continual engagement. Not big plans for the sake of it. We look for useful tools that people find work. Tools like mind-maps for marketing plans, OneNote free with Microsoft and so on. It’s always about the implementation: making it happen.