Have your marketing efforts been less than fruitful? Do you know why? Perhaps it’s because you haven’t given marketing its proper consideration.
“Marketing isn’t just running one ad and doing a trade show,” says Gordie Gohr of Gohr Creative Services in Brookfield, Wis. You need a concerted effort employing the proper tools. Your marketing strategy could include advertising, public relations, social media, e-mail blasts, direct mail, and other means.
The approach you use depends on your needs and resources. Some firms find that non-traditional methods, such as sampling and other guerrilla marketing tactics work well. But because the group served is so small, the event must be coupled with a strong public relations campaign.
It’s all about awareness, Gohr says. You don’t know when your customers are in the mood to buy, so your marketing must be continuous. Think of the last time you purchased a mattress. The ads suddenly appear to be everywhere, when in fact they’ve been running regularly. You didn’t notice them until you were ready to buy.
Marketing is vital, but you must keep your priorities in order. If you’re no longer spending a majority of your time on your core tasks–providing a product or service–it’s time to seek help. Gohr says that executives who continue in this manner are doing their businesses a disservice.
How to handle your marketing
Who should handle marketing? Gohr recommends someone with real-world experience or formal training who fully understands the various marketing tools available. If no such person exists on your staff, consider contracting with a marketing professional or firm.
Most important, “surround yourself with people who will give you honest advice,” Gohr says. They should tell you what appeals to your customers, not merely what you like.
Just as you are an expert in your business, so are the marketing people experts in that field. While it’s OK to be involved and ask thoughtful questions, you must learn to trust their judgment.
Experience in your industry is helpful, Gohr says, but the basic principles of marketing apply to all businesses. Those fundamental steps will be used to generate a message unique to your situation and needs.
Don’t rush to cut your marketing budget when times are tough. Gohr says firms that market during difficult periods enjoy sustained sales and find themselves ahead of the competition when conditions improve.
In those situations, Gohr says, “make sure you’ve done your homework.” Focus on those elements you can control, such as manufacturing, packaging, distribution, sales force education, and your message.
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