How this article came about
At a recent workshop I left somewhat disturbed. The presenter although accomplished, only covered one area of marketing, in this case website search, both SEO and PPC. Although, without doubt, it is one of the most important marketing tools, it is not the only one and is not universally useful. Presenters tend to push their expertise and the services their company provides, this is the nature of the world, so is not an individual criticism. But as someone with possibly too many years marketing experience, I know that there are different strategies, and different tools needed to achieve them.
In short, I believe the first task is to choose the strategy, then the tools to use, not the other way around. So in this short article I will look at the key Marketing Flavours or Strategies and the most relevant tools you can use for each of them.
Pro-active / Disruptive / Offensive
Here you have something to say, and you want to shout it out, you are taking your message to the market!
- Inform an audience of new products or services
- Raise awareness of your business and presence
- Educate and inform
- Generate Leads
- Opening a new branch
- Have a special offer to promote (2 for 1 Pizza)
- Change of name, strategy etc.
- Want more people to know about you and your expertise
- Promote something new or revolutionary
The marketing tools we can use are;
- Traditional Sales and Telesales
- Advertising (Media, Direct Mail, TV, Radio etc.)
- Email Marketing and Newsletters
- Social Media (Organic and Advertising/PPC)
- Networking, Exhibitions, Conferences
Although Search is available with Social Media, I believe Facebook, Twitter and the like, are more useful in a proactive way. Many of us check our news feeds daily, so will see posts or adverts for a new restaurant or something else. Sponsored posts can be specifically targeted.
Reactive / Responsive
Reacting to an enquiry or interest. If we are looking for something, we typically resort to Google or similar. The key point though is that it only works in response to an enquiry, it is not proactive. Undoubtedly it’s one of the key marketing tools.
- People looking to buy something (E-Commerce)
- Responding to emergencies (finding a plumber in the middle of the night)
- Delivering knowledge and advice (Wikipedia, Google Maps, Opening Times etc.)
- Comparing and evaluation
The main tool of course is Google and other Search engines, other include printed and online trade directories. As mentioned above, Social Media can also be used but is more in my opinion, a proactive tool.
I know some will argue that this is not really a marketing strategy, I disagree. The cost of generating new business is many times more expensive than looking after existing. A strategy to keep customers loyal, and to hopefully gain a greater share of their spend should be a key marketing strategy.
The aims are;
- Marketing aimed at keeping your customers secure
- Build Loyalty
- Keep informed on company news and services
- Gain greater share of their spend
- Crucial to achieving this is to maintain contact and to deliver good customer service
The tools to be used include;
- Customer Visits / Telephone or Email Contact / Hospitality
- Deliver good service
- Loyalty Schemes
- Rebates and Volume Discounts
- Customer newsletters and website access
Whatever marketing tool you use, it will involve time, cost or probably both. To get the most out of your investment, time spent on analysis, research and planning is well spent. Setting your goals or aims is the first step, be realistic and look at how they can be measured. Shop around, look at what your competition are doing. Decide on your budgets. Make sure you are using the right marketing flavours for your business.
Just because a tool has worked for you in the past doesn’t mean it is the best tool to promote your business. Don’t be afraid to experiment, setting a modest test budget initially for trying something different.