Marketing Misconceptions: The top 3 for every business
While marketing has formed a key part of every business degree for the past 40 years and a key role in nearly every organisation, misconceptions still exist around its role. In this blog I will address what I believe are the three biggest:
1. Marketing = Promotion
This is perhaps the most common misconception of all so I will address this first. Marketing is about a lot more than just promotion. Yes, promotion in all of its guises (design, advertising, pr, online marketing, etc) is essential to increase awareness and new leads for your business. However, if we assume that the role of marketing is to assist a company to profitably identify and supply customers with products and services they are satisfied with, then we also have to accept the daily function of marketing in a business is broader than just promotion. The classic 4Ps of marketing are defined as:
Product : Developing an effective product/service strategy for your business. Marketing should be at the core of research, customer validation, feasibility studies, new product introductions and management of your full product life cycle.
Price: Pricing is a complex area and essential to the profitability of your business. Pricing needs to reflect your competition, an understanding of what you customers’ will pay, be flexible to changing market conditions and creative. Marketing plays a major role in all of these things.
Place (How your products are sold): Gone are the days when a company had only one way to sell its products. Today it is not uncommon for companies have a multi-channel approach involving direct sales, online sales, partners, distributors, etc. Choosing the right “Go to market” mix for your business is key and knowing which markets (eg export market development) suit which approach is a core marketing function.
Promotion: Broad range of online and offline tools……but you already know this
Now before some of you reply with comments about other “Ps” like positioning, or the 3Cs (customer, competition and competencies), the point I am trying to illustrate here is that marketing touches on all elements of your business strategy and to view it singularly as Promotion limits the value that marketing will bring to your business.
2. Marketing = Job of Marketing Manager
Customer focus is the core philosophy of marketing and any company that delegates this responsibility to the marketing manager or marketing department is making a big mistake. Study after study show that companies that adopt a customer centric culture across their entire organisation are more successful than those that don’t. And if you look at many small companies today who don’t have a dedicated marketing person in place you will see that marketing, in its true sense, is living and breathing.
If you are looking for a book that promotes the value of organisational wide customer focus, look no further than ‘Moments of Truth’ by Jan Carlson or ‘Crowning the Customer‘ by Fergal Quinn. Both books in their own way emphasise that customer satisfaction is influenced by everyone in the company from the front door to the warehouse. This culture must be driven from the very top of the company and decision making at every level driven by one goal: winning and keeping satisfied customers.
3. Marketing is not measurable
Part of the problem with this misconception relates to my first point above (ie the narrow view of marketing as promotion only). But as promotional spend is a line item on every P&L let’s stick with this for now. In my view there are very few marketing activities which are not measurable. The ultimate goal of any company is to grow sales and profit and in that regard, this is also the primary aim of marketing. In fact sales and marketing are inextricably linked, not just in lead generation, but in customer conversion, customer retention and all areas of customer service.
The tools available to today’s marketer are more diverse than ever before, especially in the areas of digital and online marketing, and marketing measurement has never been more possible. While it may still be difficult for companies to accurately pin point the return on investment from magazine advertising, for nearly ever other type of marketing promotion success is possible to measure. But here is the key issue: most companies don’t even know what they want to measure or how to measure it. The three key steps therefore are:
a) Define goals for your marketing campaigns
Examples include tradeshows (#leads, meetings, new contacts), pr (#clippings received), online marketing (#web visits, collateral downloads, leads), etc.
b) Put the tools in place to objectively measure
For every type of marketing activity there is a objective tool to help you measure. For anything online related Google Analytics is an essential starting point while every business should have a CRM System in place for registering and managing your sales leads pipeline. In many cases the measurement tools are free. We will speak more about some of these tools in future blogs.
c) Review results regularly
Generate a “balanced scorecard” KPI for marketing which not just records the sales but the measurable and valuable metrics which contribute to sales. Every company has it’s own unique sales process but as a shortcut consider metrics based on the AIDA model: Awareness (eg online and offline visibility), Interest (eg leads generated, information shared), Desire (e.g. request for quotes), Action (eg customer acquisition, satisfaction and retention).
If you find this blog of interest or would like to discuss how IMS Marketing can help your company in any of these areas please contact us.