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Marketing is Not Medicine!

May 28th, 2012
Categories: marketing, branding, Mark Wilson

Mark_wilsonBy Mark Wilson.

Mark is a veteran marketer of 30 years. He is a partner of Golfplus Media and owns , WISDOM, a boutique strategic, branding and web company that has been running for 21 years.

So many times I talk to people in the golf industry, regular business owners, CEO's and managers both here in Australia and overseas and they often make the comment, "Marketing doesn't work for us!"
My reply normally goes something like, "well what's wrong with your business?" 
Reason being is that marketing doesn't fix businesses. Its not a medicine that you take if you have neglected other parts of your business. Marketing is part of the puzzle. It should enhance your fully functional business. 
If you have a business, product or service that people respond to, engage in and purchase then what marketing simply does is bring that to the attention of others. If your current customers like it, new ones will too.

1) Product
You must have a product or service that people want. You wouldn't be in business if you didn't. But is it up to date? Can you innovate? Can you segment it? Is it at a price point that matches it value? Is it still relevant? The people that made nappies had to think long and hard when disposables came out. These are questions you need to ask yourself. Always review your product.

2) Touch the customer
You must have customer touch points. You still have to interact with your customers. Say hello and talk to them if you have a shop. Get out and see them, take a stand at an expo, ask them if they are totally satisfied with their buying experience, do a tour if they live outside your area, invite them to you office, demonstrate new products, have exhibition days or do a speaking event. All things that a functioning business should do. You can't ignore these things and expect an advert in the paper or on TV will fix it. Marketing is part of this process not a substitute for it.

3) Service - This falls into the above category and if you have been in business long enough, you know what you have to do. As Nike says "Just do it" Service is a classic case of doing all the little things right. The 1%ers like returning phone calls to keeping your promises. No way can marketing fix a company that offers poor service. In fact I have been into business where their company slogan is "we offer the best in personal service" yet when I walk in, there is no one to serve me or when I phone I get a machine. What a waste of marketing dollars.

4) The Market - Having a good market of people that are interested in your product at the price you want to command. "But I'm doing everything right. The economic climate is poor and there just aren't any new customers out there" I hear.
OK this is a valid point. If there is definitely no one buying, and I mean definitely, then don't mass market. Don't waste your money. Wait until they are ready. No use fishing if there is no fish. Wait till they come back. Instead concentrate on your existing customers. Take the time to over service them. Show them other products or services they may not currently be using, communicate with them, consider rebranding so that you look up to date and fresh, reinvent yourself as in point 1) and if you are doing everything right ask them for referrals. Do whatever you have to ensure they remain customers and spread good word of mouth.

5) Having a good brand - By branding I mean the style of your communication material. How it looks, what you are saying, the tone, the image that you are presenting. A well branded company correctly portrays it's attributes and personality. The obvious examples being Apple and Virgin.  If you are meant to be innovative and cutting edge your communication material should reflect this, maybe get those 8 year old brochures redone. If you say you are modern and professional you might want to update that tired logo or website.

For true success with your marketing you need to make sure these parts of your business are fully functional and then ensure your marketing is on par.

Ask yourself these questions:

Q1) How well do we perform our business functions? Give yourself a mark out of 10.
Q2) How good is our marketing?  Likewise mark yourself out of 10.

Now, if the answer to Question 2 is 3 or more points greater than your answer to Question 1 you need to go away and start working on your business.  You're probably wasting your marketing efforts as your customer experience won't be aligned to your marketing. At a minimum you won't be capitalising on your marketing spend by losing business at enquiry stage, repeat business and definitely getting no add-ons. On the higher end you are simply over promising and under delivering. A sure fire way to go backwards.
If your answer to Question 1 is 3 or more points higher than Question 2, then call us.

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