By Catherine Stock Haanstra
At a recent meeting where we were discussing a business’s marketing strategy, one of the business’s team said “You shouldn’t be called PIER Marketing because you do a lot more than just marketing”. I was fascinated by this. We are an outsourced marketing company, providing the marketing function for a range of businesses covering the entire marketing planning process through to tactical delivery. What our guest’s comment clearly demonstrated was a commonly-held perception of marketing at a pure activity level.
It’s not uncommon for a business to decree “We need a blogger influencer campaign” or “We need to be in the glossies/dailies/on the back of a bus”. Our job as marketing professionals is to cut through the bright lights of the latest tactical tech and focus on the front-end strategy; who are your customers, where can we reach them in the most cost-effective way and how can what we say influence them?
Absolutely businesses can dive into activity. Doing. Making noise. And based on good understanding of the business, much of this will be successful. But imagine if you could really focus, niche down and give yourself an even greater chance of hitting the bullseye with your customer both in terms of who they really are, where they are hiding and critically, what messages will resonate with them?
Marketing execution is the fun part. I get it. It’s seeing your new shiny brochures, it’s seeing your brand in the pages of [insert magazine name] and feeling pumped when the cool kids engage with your Instagram feed. But as a marketing strategy geek, I get more excited by the possibilities that a thoroughly considered and integrated marketing campaign can deliver for businesses.
Where to start? / The Marketing Planning Process (MPP)
Let me step you through the Marketing Planning Process (MPP) to demonstrate the full breadth of coverage and impact marketing should have on an organization.
The Marketing Planning Process is a mantra that we follow here at PIER however large or small the campaign, project or business. This process ensures no stone is left unturned (or at least considered) before launching into the tactical (doing) phase. The output – your marketing plan – doesn’t have to be a dossier – indeed you can present a marketing plan as a one-pager. It’s the thinking behind this that makes it one of the most valuable tools in your business.
Audit (Analyse where you are)
This is a systematic and conclusive assessment of the internal and external factors that you operate in as a business. There is a myriad of marketing tools (Ansoff, Porter, STP) to apply to assess skills, resources and systems of an organization but ultimately, we aim to sum up the audit in the form of a S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.
Objectives (Define where you want to be)
These should be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) and provide the blue print to how your business will operate in the market place.
(Set the) Strategy
This should define how you’re doing to deliver your products/services to your customer base for ultimate customer satisfaction.
Tactics (Agree on the activity)
This is the marketing mix – the way you’re going to reach that target market to deliver against your strategy. It is helpful to consider the 7 Ps of marketing to offer structure to this area of the marketing planning process. To ensure you’re covering all your bases, outline the approach to your product (or service), price, positioning, promotion, people, process and physical environment.
Implement (the plan)
As the name suggests, this is the process of actually delivering your strategy by implementing marketing activities. A plan is useless unless it’s actioned and in the words of Sheryl Sandberg, “Done is better than perfect” so get cracking!
Control (Measure the success)
Simply-put, this is about measuring against the objectives you’ve set and learning from what’s working (do more) and what’s not (ditch it and funnel marketing funds elsewhere).
Following this process will give you structure on how you invest your marketing dollars for 2018, but before you go allocating next year’s marketing spend, feel free to get in touch with PIER Marketing to chat about how the team can assist you in developing your marketing plan.
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