At the core of every business are certain fundamentals. Among them are the ability to produce a product or service, deliver it to a customer, and collect payment on it. However, without the competence to link prospects and customers to the business; there isn’t any ability to engage in the other competencies. That ability – to communicate with the market and generate interest in the business – is what Marketing is designed to provide.
However, Marketing is best performed when it is approached in a strategic way that is orderly, organized, and selected to achieve a very specific objective. It therefore requires an understanding of what levers to pull to accomplish different outcomes.
When approaching a marketing decision, there are a number of goals that can be accomplished, but it is important to know which one will enhance the busines’ needs most immediately. Those goals are:
Outreach refers to the engagement of a prospect or existing customer very directly. Speaking with or sharing personalized or customized correspondence (emails, letters, etc.) that are specific to that customer.
Credibility is providing expertise that is perhaps industry or function specific and demonstrates knowledge and insight; but is not being uniquely focused on a particular client.
Visibility is taking efforts to gain awareness for one’s services through various publicity-seeking activities.
Each of the above goals is best met through linking specific tactics and actions to that effort. Some tactics can straddle two goals simultaneously. For instance:
- Direct Contact and Follow up – talking with existing customers or personal interaction with prospects.
- Networking and referral seeking – speaking with people who know your company, you, and the work you have accomplished with others.
- Networking and referral seeking
- Public Speaking – addressing groups of people with similar interests or affiliations.
- Writing and Publicity – article writing, interviews, or other demonstrations of expertise.
- Promotional events – conducting parties, attending trade shows as a vendor or exhibitor, etc.
- Advertising – the placement of marketing messages in support of a company, product, or service.
The order of effectiveness is ordinarily as presented in terms of generating the most immediate increase in sales with the direct contacts taking precedence over the more diffuse and specific methods. Of course, the marketing effort chosen must align with the needs of the business. If the business has a large number of people who have expressed interest in the product or service, but are not currently being contacts – then the Outreach efforts are of paramount importance. However, if the pipeline is not sufficient to lead to the level of revenue required or needed to sustain the business or achieve targeted results; then it may be appropriate to look to increase the awareness and visibility the company has in the marketplace.
A helpful resource for those seeking to better understand the various approaches to marketing and increasing existing customer sales while generating new customer sales, is the book, Get Clients Now! written by C.J. Hayden. Marketing need not be mysterious and should not be seen as simply an expense with no return. By linking the specific tactics of marketing back to the intended goals, marketing can be approached with a much more targeted focus that delivers strategic results.