A rant. No. A rave about marketing’s value
My goal is to reinforce to you that best-of-breed marketing processes can make a difference; particularly in these challenging times of relatively stagnant demand growth; growing intensity of digital connectivity and the ever-increasing complexity of communications channel-choice to reach target buyers.
Here we go…
In some business-to-business market segments, Australia in my opinion is relatively unsophisticated in the adoption and application of professional marketing practice, techniques and tools.
Why is this the case?
Probably, we’ve never had enough competition in some Australian ANZSIC sectors to stimulate and adopt the fundamentally important view that marketing’s role is to create value for customers.
Does this happen in your industry?
Is it your view too that marketing means only promotion for many?
Where’s the professional integration of product, pricing, promotion and distribution issues; not-to-mention critical strategic issues like development of value propositions, market positioning, brand strategy and executing implementation so well, that disruption actually happens… to access and satisfy previously-unserved potential customer bases. How does this marketing integration make a difference? Would you play a full round of golf without all your clubs?
This is not a criticism of those segments; but an observation based on long-term involvement in and around those spaces. I’m reluctant to name those sectors; but I suspect you know which ones I’m refering to.
And guess what! Our digital revolution is creating a tsunami of data which presents some significant challenges for businesses. What do we collect? How do we collect it? What do we analyse? How do we use the information? How do we track the impact of decisions we make from information application?
That tsunami of opportunity is going to expand exponentially in my view. Are most of us digitally ready for that? Are you ready to understand that you could segment more closely, make more money, save more money and improve risk management? Would these embedded digital marketing processes make a difference?
Lastly, the communication channel options we have today are enormous compared with the pre-social and pre-digital media era some dozen years back or so. Communication channels are many, fragmented and often don’t provide adequate or reliable analytics around viewership, readership or participation. And, I’m not just refering to conventional communications channels; but the plethora of digital channels as well.
So the question I ask, is “so what?” “what do we do?”
Firstly, great strategy was never developed without the preparatory hard work around segment identification and viability, buyer needs and behaviour, competitor strengths and weaknesses and market positioning gap opportunities.
It has to be done, It isn’t cheap to undertake it. But, without the spadework, you might as well go fishing for a target species without the right bait, gear and sonar…in the wrong location. How costly would that be? Probably much more expensive than doing the hard yakka up front.
Secondly, don’t be afraid of the plethora of conventional and digital media communication channel options. Pick the ones that seem appropriate. Insist on evidence of how well those channels reach and engage the profiles of your desired buyers in preferred market segments. Media channel mix selection is exactly a combination of science ( media planning software and insight ) and art ( media advisory services and experience ). Then it’s up to us to make a judgement. Just like we do as leaders day-in day-out. Imagine the difference these marketing processes can make. Now, we are in a stronger position to measure the outcomes over time. Does ROI seem plausible. Yep.
Test. Test. Test. Test your promotional messages ( based on your value propositions ) and channel mix choices. That’s the key.
So, in conclusion, here’s what I believe.
Yes, we’re in a different digital world. Yes. Things appear more complex. Yes, business is faster. Perhaps more competitively intense. More margin-sensitive.
But remember, the benefits and processes of professional marketing practice are in principle, no different to 5 years ago. 10 years ago. 20 years ago.
Professional strategic marketing processes will arm you for the future. They’ll allow you to determine strategic clarity from ambiguous complexity. They’ll enable you to withstand margin dilution. They’ll create value propositions of yours that customers of your competitors won’t be able to ignore. Imagine the difference that could make to your revenues.
Professional strategic marketing processes and the right advisory support will make a difference; because you’ll be fore-warned and fore-armed before your competitors. In tight demand conditions, you want to be in better shape don’t you?
Pete Jeans is an expert business developer. He facilitates the Marketing for Managers unit at the Australian Institute of Management School of Business MBA programme; and is Chief Operating Officer at SMO Sydney which is celebrating its 29th successful year in 2018 as one of Australia’s pioneers in strategic mission-critical growth project leaders.