patrick-baker-and-steve-davisWelcome to the Baker Marketing, 2014 Marketing Summer School.

Many of our clients are taking short breaks at this time of year.  So my thinking is that over the Christmas and New Year’s period many business owners and managers take a step away from the day-to-day running and operations of their business. 

This time away from the office may provide some space to think strategically and creatively about your business as whole as you distance yourself from the numerous micro issues that absorb you during your normal working routine.

Therefore, I offer the Baker Marketing “Marketing Summer School” as opportunity to do some ‘light’ reading whilst simultaneously generating some ideas that may help you in the 2014 year.

The Baker Marketing “Marketing Summer School”

This “Marketing Summer School” will take you through a top-line overview of the key marketing strategy planning and decision-making areas.

The topics covered will not constitute a complete marketing plan in the traditional sense.  However, they do cover what we find to be by far the most important marketing and decision-making areas for business owners and operators when their principle objective is to generate growth in sales and profits.

The Baker Marketing “Marketing Summer School” handles all the hard questions of marketing through the following ten instalments:

  1. Strategic Marketing – Strategy then Strategic Implementation
  2. Target Market Selection – Finding the most profitable customer groups
  3. Brand Positioning – Making the right impression
  4. Sales Partners and Influencers – Your external sales and support team
  5. Product and Service Priorities – Knowing what to sell
  6. Key Communication Messages – Choosing your words carefully
  7. The Company Vision Timetable – Setting the big goals
  8. Promotions Planning – Selecting the most powerful marketing tools
  9. Marketing Action Plans – Your Branding, Digital and Sales Tools
  10. Bringing it all together – Company-wide implementation, measurement and control systems

Strategic Marketing – Strategy then Strategic Implementation

This week’s topic is ‘Strategic Marketing – Strategy then Strategic Implementation. 

This ‘Strategic Marketing’ topic is intended as a scene-setter. This is about getting your head around the big picture in terms of taking a planned and strategic approach to the marketing of your business.

What is Strategic Marketing?

’Strategic Marketing’ is a term I hear quite often. A quick search on the internet put my mind at rest knowing there are numerous definitions available for those of us who enjoy a nice ‘formal’ text book style definition of a term.

When working with our clients I find a useful way of understanding the significance of Strategic Marketing is to break it down into two stages, namely:

  • 1st Stage – Strategy Development This is where we spend time mapping out your overall plan of attack, ie, developing your marketing strategy.
  • 2nd Stage – Strategic Implementation This is where you spend even more time implementing the plan of attack (i.e. implementing your marketing strategy)

Strategic Marketing in Action

This is where you do the two together: second half AFTER the first half.

(I.e. develop your marketing strategy then implement the plans and decisions defined in your marketing strategy)

NOTE TO SELF: Strategic Marketing works much better if you do things in the right order (i.e. develop your marketing strategy first and then implement it versus start implementing activities then devise a plan)

Traffic and Conversion

To a certain extent this is what Strategic Marketing is all about:

Generating sales traffic of qualified prospects and then converting those prospects into loyal customers, sales and profits.

However, the whole system works a lot more efficiently if you put extra consideration into your up-front strategic marketing planning and decision-making stage.

Traffic versus Target Prospects

Imagine you own a fashion boutique staffed by a small team of sales consultants in a small, upmarket showroom selling very expensive denim jeans.

By the way, when I say expensive I mean Dolce & Gabbana or Gucci etc.

For the moment let us assume that you have defined your primary target market as females who can afford $1,200 for a pair of denim jeans.

If your marketing dollars generated you over 500 people through your showroom in a day you might be happy but only if that translated into sales. If it only resulted in a couple of sales per sales consultant your showroom would have just been overwhelmed and trampled by 500 tyre kickers and you would most likely be out of pocket.

FYI, this is NOT an example of strategic marketing in action!

Quality Traffic = Target Prospects

So here is the first in many keys or critical objectives of strategic marketing, which is to generate target prospects into your business. 

The outcome of strategic marketing might be to generate 20 target prospects per sales consultant into your showroom with whom your sales consultants spend an average of 30 minutes gently assisting half of them into the perfect pair of quadruple-stitched, thigh-hugging designer label jeans at over 1k a pop!

The same principles apply to your website where you want traffic that consists of target prospects, not just ‘hits’ or ‘visits’, in addition to every other aspect of spending marketing dollars to generate sales traffic.

It needs to generate traffic that consists of your target customers.

Effective Sales Conversion Systems

Imagine you are back in that showroom and this time you have plenty of target prospects in front of you. 

Imagine how frustrating (to the point of tears) it would be if you saw customer after customer walk in, try on several pairs of jeans, untidy your showroom, create a full-time job for someone to hang jeans back on the hangers, and yet not purchase product. 

This is where you would suspect that you need to increase the effectiveness of your sales conversation systems.

Effective sales conversion systems help ensure you optimise the investment you have made in generating the traffic of target customers to your business in the first place.

Whether it is a showroom, a website, brochure or outward bound external sales presentations, your business needs an effective sales conversion system.

What Tools are Involved?

Your sales conversion systems may include:

  • Powerful written copy on your website generating email enquiries or phone calls
  • Compelling email letters or newsletters encouraging customers to pick up the telephone
  • Skilful telephone call management techniques converting enquires into face-to-face appointments
  • Well-honed Face-to-face selling skills that convert qualified prospects into customers
  • Great follow up skills and disciplines assisting to increase your sales conversion rates
  • And more!

Strategic Marketing in a Nutshell

So if we nutshell things we could say that Strategic Marketing is about first developing a marketing strategy and then taking a disciplined approach to strategic implementation.

This simply means implementing the same items in the plan in roughly the same order that they were laid out in the plan.

Two Big Goals to Kick

Two significant end objectives of strategic marketing include:

  • Generating increased traffic of targeted customers
  • Ensuring an effective sales conversion systems to convert target customers to loyal customers

How does Strategic Marketing Help Kick Goals?

Well now this is one of my favourite subjects.

Strategic Marketing helps us achieve those significant goals (i.e. Traffic and Conversion) by serving as a structure to help you:

  1. Take a planned and disciplined approach to the marketing and growth of your business rather than simply jumping in and launching a brand and spending money
  2. Analyse and select the most profitable target market customer groups to ensure you do not waste money reaching low-profit customer groups
  3. Define the most appropriate brand positioning for your business to ensure that your brand is perceived in the most positive way possible when target customers are reached
  4. Help uncover opportunities for new referral sources and product/service innovations
  5. Serve as a process for creating the most compelling and powerful communication messages and selecting the most cost-effective and high-impact promotions tools to reach your target customers
  6. Provide a framework and system to assist in a disciplined implementation of planned activities and the monitoring and controlling of your marketing activities to maximise success, sales and profits

Back to the Baker Marketing “Marketing Summer School” 

The structure of our “Marketing Summer School” program topics is intended to step you through the most important planning and decision-making areas for your business.

This was week one of the ten topic summer school program and my objective was to get you thinking about the overall marketing of your business and perhaps for you to start making some notes of any good ideas, innovations or inspirations that you may encounter whilst in a more relaxed summer and/or holiday mode.

Next week we get stuck into what I consider to be the single most important marketing decision that you make for your business – the selection of your Primary and Secondary Target Markets.

In the meantime, I wish you and your families a very safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

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