‘I don’t do marketing, but …’
I was inspired to write this blog post after various conversations with people recently that literally included the words ‘I don’t do marketing, but …’
What follows (inevitably) is a description of any number of things, all of which do fall under the remit of marketing.
So here is my top list of things that may not always be perceived as marketing, but they most certainly are:
Word of mouth
This includes referrals and recommendations and any other form of customers coming to you because for some reason they have heard of you and perceive your service as relevant to them. None of this happens by chance. It happens for a reason (and I don’t mean fate). It’s a result of past efforts by any number of people that have represented your company and it is often difficult to attribute to a single source.
Customer service is vital to all companies for a large number of reasons.
- It helps to attract and close sales.
- It prevents the unnecessary loss of sales during the process. (I tried to buy a kitchen recently … Wow – several companies would be £xk better off if they had just been less inept and less patronising during the process).
- It brings back repeat customers.
- It brings customers to you as a preferred choice. Buying a wider range of products for example, in addition to what they have bought already.
It prevents ‘buyer remorse’ and the returns / cancellations that can go with this.
- It helps to build your company’s reputation – which drives both sales and stakeholder perception (good for word of mouth for example).
- It helps to keep employees happy (delivering good service is more satisfying than not doing so). This underpins all of the other things. Plus it saves you money on having to replace staff regularly.
Even if your business serves a single corporate or internal customer; you will be interacting with them every day. Relationships are made through such activity.
Service levels need to be part of the marketing mix and need to be monitored in order for marketing to work at its best.
‘Satisfying customer needs profitably’ is a common definition of marketing. How are you doing that? You are developing and maintaining good and relevant products or services. Or both.
Which product(s)? … Which market(s)? …. Under what brand(s)? All of these are key marketing concerns.
Likewise, innovation can be owned and controlled by any number of departments or influenced by external people from any number of backgrounds. Essentially though, its purpose is to either meet a group of consumers’ needs better or to do so more efficiently.
What is networking? It’s building relationships with relevant others (marketing) and it’s building reputation (marketing) and it’s representing yourself and your company well (marketing).
Building strategic or sales channel relationships
Maybe you don’t sell direct to your end users. You might sell through another company that sells or incorporates your product into something else in large volume. But how do you know which partner is right? How do you know what the partner wants? How do you ensure that you get the most from the relationship? How do you manage the relationship over time? Market intelligence, research, negotiation and understanding of each other’s brand is what underpins this.
Selling or Business Development
Who are you selling to and why? How do you reach them? How do you convince them the product is right for their needs? What do you know about them? The closer marketing and sales are related, the better it is for everyone.
‘The product sells itself’
OK, but did it make itself?