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Is Your Marketing Kitchen Really Cookin'?

Is Your Marketing Kitchen Really Cookin'?
(tips on how to get better value from your marketing)
By Stuart Ayling

In discussions with clients and business associates, and during my work as a tutor with university students, I am often surprised at the lack of understanding of how ubiquitous the marketing function is within an organisation.  

Marketing is pervasive - the often silent influencer of opinions, preferences and buying habits.

Not that I should be surprised. After all, most people don't think about marketing every day of the week like I do! But I have noticed that the marketing function is often mistaken for its component pieces - press advertising, personal selling, sponsorship, public relations, direct mail, Internet banner ad's etc.

These cases of mistaken identity run the risk of missing the value of marketing. The real power of marketing comes from the successful use of a combination of relevant marketing tools, tactics and procedures to provide an environment and opportunity in which to create a satisfied customer. To single out one aspect of marketing downplays the dynamics of the true marketing environment.

It's not really fair - or useful - to say marketing is just advertising, or just selling, or just? That's like saying a cake is just flour.

The value is in the cake, not just the flour. In fact if you lined up all the ingredients for the cake in front of you on the kitchen bench, odds are that you wouldn't want to eat many of them straight up (except maybe for the chocolate chips!). Marketing is often the same.

Many people have trouble getting the most from their marketing efforts because all they see are the ingredients of their marketing 'cake'. And in many cases the individual ingredients don't seem very palatable. 

But take a different approach. Stop looking for the single "secret ingredient" to make your business rise, and look at how you are managing the kitchen.

Follow this tried and true recipe to get better value from your marketing!

Align marketing with business priorities - make sure that marketing activities are helping you to achieve what you want.

Use marketing tactics that make sense for your business - don't spend money (and precious time) on low yield marketing tactics.

Follow financial disciplines - know your budget, have a forecast, plan for 12 months, track expenditure regularly.

Include all parts of your business (e.g. purchasing, sales staff, finance) - other departments do have an influence on marketing. Stock must be purchased in time for promotions, advertising material must be coordinated with in-store selling, and financial impacts of marketing must be accounted for.

Make sure your people understand why - explain to the non-marketers in your business why marketing is necessary and how it benefits them. Tell them in advance of new promotional events. Let them know what you are doing for customers.

Give feedback - communicate progress of marketing activities, advertising campaigns etc. Let your colleagues know that marketing 'lives' in the organisation everyday, not just when something important happens.

Get your timing right - understand the market, understand your business. Make sure things happen when they should. Make sure stock is in-store before the new ad campaign starts, plan promotions for peak times, supply timely expense data to the finance gurus for future planning.

Deliver as promised - meet your commitments to customers, colleagues and service providers. Gain credibility.

If you don't think you have the culinary skills (or the time) to make your marketing 'cake', then get someone to help. Delegate within your organisation or call in a professional to help you out. 

There's more to successful sales and marketing activities than meets the untrained eye. Make sure you have your marketing 'kitchen' in order so you can get the value you are looking for.

Stuart Ayling runs Marketing Nous, an Australasian marketing consultancy that specialises in marketing for service businesses. He helps clients to improve their marketing tactics, attract more clients, and increase revenue. For additional marketing resources, including Stuart's popular monthly newsletter, visit his web site at www.marketingnous.com.au
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