Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Under-pressure marketeers need a clear plan of action

Marketing as a profession is under a bit of pressure. Books like Brandwashed and The Old Rules of Marketing Are Dead paint a bleak picture - "Marketeers are nasty and don't know what they are doing".

On Small Business Can there is quite a lot of discussion going on about marketing. Here are some of the snippets:

Marketing or sales? A classic (still) is the question of whether you prefer a marketeer or a good sales person. My personal view is that a good sales person is worth 10 marketeers (with some notable exceptions, of course).

We get a lot of questions about social media such as the use of video and how to use Facebook effectively (just because you have lots of likes, does not mean you are going to sell more).

If you are not very, very, VERY clear on what you want to achieve with social media, you will be wasting a lot of time.

It is not a replacement for sales and is in its essence a support tool. However, if your product or service is very good, it is word of mouth on steroids.

When it comes to e-commerce, designing your website, app or website, as with social media, you need to be clear on what you want to achieve.

I would maintain that most businesses should have an e-commerce element.

If it is not on the buying side, it is on the purchasing side. If you can, you should. Anything that can go digital, will go digital. Open the company to a digital marketplace (and to global competitors).

Then there are the classics. You can't beat good target marketing, which could include all of the classics, such as direct mail, leaflet drops, sales visits, cold calling.

'Classic' tools might have higher cut-through than the noise of social media.

Relevance is everything - at the right moment, in the right channel, with the right media, in the right context.

Finally, cloud, social media, software and systems. It is now possible to integrate these into sophisticated dashboards and run your business from a smart phone.

How good are SMEs at this? Start-ups, who don't have legacy systems, are good, but the over-35 owner-manager is struggling. It will be essential for business survival.

Ron Immink is the co-founder of www.smallbusinesscan.com

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