Marketing

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Overview

Marketing is everything that you do to reach and persuade prospects and the sales process is everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract.

Marketing covers the wide range of activities involved in making sure that an organisation is continuing to meet the needs of its customers and getting value in return.

It is arguable to say that marketing issues confronting a sole trader or small business are precisely the same as for those of an international corporation. The only real difference is in the scale.

It is crucial for companies to produce a marketing plan/strategy.

Marketing activities include both “inbound marketing” to find out, for example, what groups of potential customers exist, what their needs are, which of those needs you can meet, how you should meet them, etc. Inbound marketing also includes analysing the competition, positioning your new product or service (finding your market niche), and pricing your products and services. “Outbound marketing” includes promoting a product or service through tools such as advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, public relations and exhibitions/events.

Inbound marketing includes market research to find out:

  • What specific groups of potential customers/clients might have specific needs

  • How those needs might be met for each group (or target market)

  • How each of the target markets might choose to access the product, etc. (its ‘packaging’)

  • How much customers/clients might be willing pay and how (pricing analysis)

  • Who the competitors are (competitor analysis)

  • How to design and describe the product such that customers/clients will buy from the organisation, rather than from its competitors (its USP or unique value proposition)

  • How the product should be identified — its personality — to be most recognisable (its naming and branding)

Outbound marketing includes:

  • Advertising and promotions (focused on the product)

  • Public and media relations (focused on the entire organisation)

  • Customer service

  • Customer satisfaction

Too often, people jump right into outbound marketing without looking at the inbound process first. As a result, they often end up trying to push products onto people who really don’t want them. Effective inbound marketing often results in much more effective, and less difficult outbound marketing and sales.

Outbound Marketing ‘Tools’

  • Branding

  • Advertising and Promotions

  • Public and Media Relations

  • Internet Marketing

  • Social Networking

  • Exhibitions and Events

Here are some typical benefits companies can realise from an effective marketing programme: 

  • It differentiates a company from the competition

  • It creates a flow of new business leads

  • It keeps the company in the minds of customers and prospects

  • It will give the company a strong hold on the marketplace

  • It will communicate a company’s expertise and knowledge – “Here’s what we can do for you”

  • It will assist a company in implementing a long-term strategy

  • It will be customer-oriented

  • It will be a vital tool in customer retention

Advertising

You may have a great business setup and a fabulous product or service, but without advertising it may never succeed. Advertising occurs in many forms – in print, online, television, radio, cinema, via sales teams, telemarketing, advocates, networking, sponsorship – the list goes on. For SMEs, above-the-line advertising such as television is usually not an option because of cost, but every business should engage with at least one form of media. If the message is unclear or the choice of media is wrong, it could be a complete waste of money. Get it right and the sales could come rolling in.

Here are some key benefits and features of advertising:

  • Businesses that keep advertising regardless of economic times will have a competitive advantage over those that reduce their advertising budgets

  • Increase sales, raise profile, create credibility, authenticity and trust

  • Direct communication to your target audience

  • A strong, captivating and clear message ensures the audience will take action

  • Selecting the right media brings greater return on investment

  • A ‘big bang’ campaign can bring instant success, or ‘drip feed’ will keep a business front-of-mind for when a potential customer is ready to buy

Branding

Effective branding can increase profits by 10-20%. It is one of the most important aspects of marketing communications and is a key factor in determining a company’s level of success. How a business is perceived by others is defined by the brand – contracts can be won and lost based simply on perception. A brand identity projects who you are, what you do and how you do it – but it is important to recognise it’s not just about the logo. A brand is reflected in the product or service, the working environment, communications, and even the behaviour of staff.  Some brand-related activities include brand perception studies, brand identity, literature design, website design, advertising, public relations, exhibition graphics and even event management. 

There are several key steps to brand heaven and ultimate success:

  • Create a strong brand to encourage positive interactions between your business your audience

  • Be consistent with the application of your brand identity – this will create credibility

  • Once credibility is established, authenticity can be created through the messages communicated

  • Then the audience will trust the business

  • Ultimately these factors will create loyalty from the audience and they will keep coming back

PR

Public relations, more commonly known as ‘PR’, can be defined as the practice of managing communication between an organisation and its publics. It provides an organisation or individual exposure to their target audiences using topics of public interest and news items that provide a third-party endorsement. Common activities include organising speaking opportunities, media relations, crisis communications, social media engagement and employee/internal communications.

PR is increasingly tied to online and social media communications as companies look to integrate their online and traditional brand building activities. Awareness and monitoring of online sentiment is also an important part of any corporate social relations (CSR) programme.

Here are some typical activities and benefits companies can realise from engaging PR:

  • Raising the profile of an organisation in target media to support sales activity

  • Differentiating an organisation within a specific market

  • Helping to manage change communications regarding eg, a factory move, closure or change of company management

  • Profiling and communicating company strategy to business/financial markets in a pre-IPO situation

  • Creating a media personality for an organisation’s figurehead e.g a CEO, chairman, managing director 

Exhibitions & Events

Exhibitions/Conferences

As part of an organisation’s marketing programme, exhibitions provide an excellent opportunity to meet face-to-face with existing and potential clients, as well as suppliers, ‘partners’ and even competitors.

Here are some key benefits that an organisation can achieve by attending exhibitions:

  • Raising an organisation’s profile both through high profile, professional presence and in some cases, through participating in industry seminars  and speaking opportunities linked to the exhibition

  • Showcase products and services to a well-defined audience

  • Meet existing and potential clients/customers in significant numbers over a short time period

  • Keep track on developments in the market

  • Network with the market and its target media

Internet Marketing 

There are millions of websites on the Internet and most of them receive little attention and generate no leads for their owners. A company website is just like a business card, constantly available, 24- hours-a-day, seven days a week, but it needs to do more than that to pay for itself. When people search for your goods or services online they will be attracted to the most professional looking website. Is yours being found?

Your website will ultimately become the most effective advertisement you have created.

If your website is not visually appealing and captivating, user-friendly and informative, unique and interactive… then you will lose business to your competition.

Every website is designed to achieve a set of goals, these include:

  • to be found by searchers

  • to generate sales

  • to improve brand awareness

  • to ensure the availability of product information

  • to increase email newsletter sign ups

  • to increase customer acquisition

Your website needs to have the ability to keep prospective clients moving beyond the first page, subtly driving them to make a purchase or sign-up for a newsletter, request more information or download a brochure. Whatever the goal of your site may be, it must be able to funnel traffic to the right places and convert it into sales or leads.

A good web site will

  • Increase revenues

  • Improve efficiencies

  • Reduce operating cost

E-Commerce solutions

For any business looking to grow, e-commerce represents one of today’s single greatest opportunities to target new customers and increase sales. Selling your products or services online is like having a shop that is open 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, all year round. And the best part of that always-open shop is that there’s no rent or utilities to pay for, no additional fixtures to buy, you don’t even need to staff it (unless things get really busy)! 

Do you wish you could be ready and waiting every time a customer wants to buy? Well you can be with an e-commerce website. Even when your office is closed, someone is buying from you and your profits are growing.  An e-commerce solution means that if your prospect has a sudden urge to buy your product at 3 am, you can wake up to increased sales without even opening an eye.

An e-commerce solution allows you to:

  • Be ready 24/7 for the moment when that client is ready to buy

  • Reach new customers nationally and internationally

  • Quickly respond to customers without any additional staff

  • Easily track inventory and sales data

  • Simplify your office operations

  • Expand your business in a completely affordable way

Is e-commerce for you?

Whether you stock only one product or thousands, you can always sell more and simplify your back office operations. Imagine how much time you’d save with automatic credit card processing and shipping calculations, automatically generated invoices, a dynamic catalogue that knows what you have in stock and can tell you when it’s time to reorder, plus in-depth sales tracking and reporting.

Social Media

There is a feeling that marketing has never been easier since the huge growth in social media networking. What is social media?  Iit can be defined as group activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction.  The majority of consumers are tapped into social media networks like blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  So, as a business, don’t you think you should be too?  Social media optimisation is your doorway into marketing success.

Social technologies have exploded into the business world, yet are vastly misunderstood by most business owners. Many organisations are either blocking their use, or simply experimenting with how they might be of benefit. Because tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn started with personal use, little has been done to holistically address how social tools can be fully integrated into an organisation. In addition, most leaders have little idea of the full collection of capabilities that exist under the social umbrella.

These social tools can be used to engage with customers and prospects, develop new sales prospects, improve brand reputation and carry out free market research. There can be a huge benefit in learning how to apply a powerful technology trend before your competition.

Social media and social networking are powerful tools for helping business owners find and communicate with new customers. What is a collection of tools to some can become a powerful system to drive more clients to your business.

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