There’s a bit more to it than you think
The reason ‘marketing’ is said to be a broad term is that there are so many other areas of expertise that feed into it to make it successful. To have a marketing plan or marketing strategy would mean the drawing in of Brand, Business Development/Sales, Advertising, Marketing Communications, Public Relations, Sponsorship, Events and Word-of-mouth.
All of these areas are drawn in to a campaign in varying degrees to build a workable marketing plan specific to the product or service for the target audience.
It is worth mentioning that a product is not what it is; it is what it does. For example, Black & Decker® is not in the business of making drills; it is in the business of producing just the right size hole or the smoothest surface! Marketing is all about servicing the client or the customer … it is not about the company singing its own praises, it is about focusing on what the client or customer needs and how we, as the company, can make as much money as possible by servicing that need.
In simple terms:
Broadly, a company’s brand is not defined only by what the logo looks like; it is part of the brand but is only one-quarter of the whole (and some would say the least important). Essentially, it is what the world sees, hears and reads of the company as well as what it feels about the experience of dealing with it … and the message in all four needs to be consistent in order for a brand to be successful.
BD is the deep understanding of the service or product of the company with a specific target audience in mind. It is the finding of new and innovative ways to attract business to the company. This includes thought-leadership campaigns or initiatives that have a long-term strategy of solidifying current client or customer relationships as well as attracting new ones. This approach by the company is essential for current and future profitability. BD is one of the most important aspects of the company’s business strategy.
The purpose of advertising is to do two things: Build brand awareness (brand recognition) and sell more of the product or service, whether it be in a newspaper or magazine, on a billboard, social media and business networks or other online platforms. Advertising campaigns are tailored to the product or service of a company and how far-reaching it is. It is essential to make sure that the ads in question are focused on the specific target audience that would require such service or product. To illustrate, we wouldn’t place an ad for sail boat equipment in an agricultural farming magazine – a crude example, but I’m sure you get the idea.
MarComs is the awareness-raising aspect of Business Development. It translates the vision of the BD thought-leadership campaign into appropriate marketing collateral; it is the means through which the world gets to learn of a new product or service, whether it be online or hard copy brochures. The purpose of marcoms is to make the task of BD easier (to put the company’s product or service front of mind) and includes both on- and offline initiatives, taking its lead from BD.
PR is not Advertising. It is the implementation of the company’s strategy in terms of its ‘message’ and how it wishes to be perceived in the media and among the public generally. This is done by managing what the world reads and hears of the company, making sure that the company is seen in the public domain in the best possible light, whether it be by way of initiative or damage control.
This is a very specialist field not for the faint-hearted (or cash-strapped!). The purpose of sponsorship is to raise awareness among a specific audience and to create a powerful ‘association’ between the brand and that group of people. Rolex®’s sponsorship of Wimbledon tennis is a good example – the company runs all of the time-keeping at the championships.
A company holds events to do three things: To attract new business; as part of its community relations programme; or as part of a sponsorship campaign. If this isn’t the purpose, then don’t waste money hosting one. It is important to note that Events should not be a company’s only way of building client or customer relationships, it is only a part … and does not excuse the company from making personal approaches to its clients in maintaining as well as building its relationship with them.
There is no better marketing than by word-of-mouth! It costs nothing. It is what happens when a product or service is so good that awareness of it spreads virally from one person to another.