Red Zebra Business Centre -Management Memos
August, 2009. Making Measurably More For Your Business Since 1985!

MaxProfile
It's Time To Look At All Your Marketing Resources!

Max Williams, Principal Consultant

By the look of most news commentaries, the Global Financial Crisis is almost over. The news keeps getting better. As long as you are not concerned about an increase in interest rates, that is.

What seems clear is that there's sustained demand in most sectors of the market - especially retail consumer goods and durables. In this case, the key question for almost any business is going to be "What can I do to take a substantial share of this market activity?" The short answer is: "Use highly effective marketing!"

There are lots of examples of simple and effective steps taken by businesses of all sizes to create a new awareness in their target market, and a new level of interest. Handled properly, this translates to a new level of demand.

Given this relative ease of creating new demand, it's surprising that more business people don't take advantage of all the techniques you can find available. I am reminded of the time I was first in the marketing manager's role, only to find that my home-spun marketing theories were just that - home spun! It was time to go to school again - and learn serious marketing.

Of course anyone can do marketing, just like anyone can lay bricks without learning bricklaying, or make a hat without learning millinery. It's just not as easy, as comfortable, or as good, as doing it the right way! Getting good, well experienced and trained advice is always a good idea!

So now is the time to take stock of all the marketing resources you have, or could get. Then think of how best to deploy them!

When you think of how to deploy your marketing resources, it's really important to see that every resource is applied to its greatest effect. That's the way to highly effective marketing. One of the key resources you have in your hand is your brand. Proper use and development of your brand will add effectiveness to your marketing that's way out of proportion to the cost and effort it takes.

Keep a clear view of your brand and what it stands for - then develop an advertising plan to play to the strengths of that brand. Your advertising plan will be most effective if it's based on a comprehensive marketing plan that takes all the other marketing elements you control.

One approach that can inhibit highly effective marketing is to routinely follow past approaches, just because they appear to have worked in the past. That's no longer enough, with all kinds of new techniques now appearing. Some of these new techniques are amazingly effective, and easily scalable. This means that even small businesses can make use of some of these new approaches because they are affordable, as well as effective.

With the economy now turning up, it's an idea time to flex those marketing muscles with the new marketing techniques. You'll be amazed at your results!





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Take to the Future!

I

n many businesses we are now seeing good results returning, in accord with commentators who now describe the end of the recession as "here already" - or "almost here"! This welcome  new growth in activity heralds the arrival of new opportunities for increasing market share, and taking a leadership position in your target market. Now it's time to strike out into the market in new ways - snaring new customers, and new markets.


It is a sweeping generalisation, but a nevertheless reasonable observation, that for many, many, business operators, 'marketing' is synonymous with 'advertising'. So many business owners say 'marketing', but think 'advertising'. Of course, while advertising is a part of the marketing mix, 'marketing is so much more than just advertising.

Even when thinking advertising, most people think of two things - main media, and Yellow Pages.

If ever there was a time to rethink what construct you put on the concept of marketing, this has to be it! Do your marketing better, and the world is your oyster!


Marketing Mix Includes Pricing
One of the common misconceptions is that pricing is to do with cost recovery, hand costing. Naturally it is necessary for a price to recover the associated costs, but an important question is 'what are the relevant costs''. In an address presented some little while ago, the point was made by the author that there is no such thing as cost - just a number of definitions of 'cost'. So the decision you must make is what is the relevant definition of cost for this case.  What are the relevant costs?

The other, more important question is "What is the right price for this item in this market?" If you get that right, you will have lots of capacity to generate strong sales results. If you get that right, you will have taken the proper view of relevant costs, and it will and that can be made to lead to good gross profit performance. This is in strict conflict with traditional advice of never reducing the price.

Often, during consulting sessions, we refer to the client who made up his mind to accept our advice on pricing, and saw a 3 point reduction in gross margin as a result. Exactly as expected. The key thing is that gross profit, in dollar terms, increased by 30%. That client really understood the role of pricing in the marketing mix. To his benefit!

Think in dollar terms: instead of $350,000 gross profit, it became $455,000. That was a $105,000 decision. Worth taking. Remember the role of price in the marketing mix.


Marketing Mix Includes Merchandising and Promotions
If you are going to be really honest with yourself, the products you sell, and the services your offer are almost identical with those offered by your competitors. You should struggle to make a 'point of difference', but good marketing must include giving prospective customers a reason to buy - and buy from you, and buy now.
It is the creativity of your promotional activity that gives your marketing activities some real edge - that real point that makes sense to a likely buyer.

Answer this. What is the best thing about your current promotion? What extra sales can you ascribe to this latest and current promotion?

If you cannot tell what you are doing this month to give shoppers a reason to buy now, and if you can't see what extra sales have resulted, then your marketing planning is deficient.


Marketing Mix Includes Sales Activity
It is often seen that the sales people are left to run their race, while the 'marketing' is done by "the boss", "the office", or the "marketing department".

Fact is that the sales people are the front line people at the interface with prospective customers. If your staff are not a part of your promotions, they can't close on the lead and make the sale.

Remember to train and brief your staff for each promotion you run.

Make them responsible for making the promo work as well as it can do! Measure their sales performance. Hold them responsible for it!


Marketing Includes Communication
After all that, we finally get back to advertising. Main media advertising is important, but it is just one communication channel. To get ahead of the rest, you need to be even more creative. Have you ever considered using regular emails? What about using social media? Do you notify your customers of daily special offers, or, in the case of business to business customers, special monthly conditions, by using SMS messaging?

It is the way you adopt relevant new technology that will give you a break right now, when technology is changing so quickly. It is so easy to dismiss new technologies as being suitable for "only retail", or "just for the youth market", or some other business, but not yours. Just suppose you take an opposite attitude and  ask "What can we do to make use of that new technology in your enterprise?"

There are so many opportunities these days, you would be doing less than your best not to consider these new opportunities.

You may need some help to take advantage of these new things, and new attitudes, but don't let that stop you doing your best in marketing at this upward turning point in the world's economy.




If you'd like to find out more about Highly Effective Marketing, talk to us, or ask us a question here! Remember, there's no charge or obligation.



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McNicol Williams Management & Marketing Services is a Small Business Advisor listed with the Small Business Victoria, and has presented The Red Zebra program under its auspices. This listing requires that the first hour's consultation is always free. So when we say "No charge or obligation", we mean it!