Marketing lays the groundwork for successful sales efforts…
…when done right.
Whether you’re building brand and product awareness, identifying targets, or nurturing leads, effective marketing is key to closing sales and driving revenue.
But what lays the groundwork for effective marketing? And what is an effective marketing management process?
The Marketing Management Process
When you’re marketing, you’re communicating to an audience. It may be an audience of one, a thousand, or a million.
But you’re communicating with every Tweet, blog, mailer, text, email, ad, as well as other marketing pieces you produce.
You’re even communicating when you’re quiet (although chances are you don’t want to be sharing with your audience what your silence says).
But you’re not just communicating. You’re trying, by degrees, to move consumers to take action. What determines when consumers will or should take action?
Marketing managers know that a consumer’s needs and wants drive their purchase behavior. So you need to understand those needs and wants thoroughly to best know how you should communicate with them, and guide them along the path from consumer to customer.
The marketing management process is about identifying consumer needs and wants, followed by the development of a program designed to satisfy them. In practical terms, you want to find out what consumers want, develop what they want, help them recognize one or more of your products as the best option to satisfy them, as well as encourage them to buy.
The marketing management process is often conflated with advertising marketing research. Not a soup-to-nuts marketing program.
Every day, firms spend millions of dollars on creative ad copy designed to compel sales or guide consumers along the next step of the buyer’s journey. And too often, they do so outside the parameters of a well-designed strategic marketing plan.
They then wonder why their ads don’t connect, and their sales don’t surge.
Developing a Strategic Marketing Plan
To manage the marketing management process effectively, a strategic marketing plan is absolutely critical. While developing takes time, collaboration, as well as effort, trying to manage the marketing process without one will cost you all three plus money. Your strategic marketing plans should contain:
- Organizational background
- Situation analysis
- Marketing goals
- Target markets
- Marketing strategy
- Marketing mix
- Assessment measures
By thoroughly developing each of these elements, you’ll improve your chances of executing a successful marketing strategy.
You want to set the stage by including organizational documents like your company mission statement and vision statement, as well as any overarching goals from an organization-wide strategic plan that are relevant. Everything that follows should be well-aligned with these three items.
After your mission, vision, and organizational goals, you’ll want to conduct as well as add a situational analysis. There are many methods for doing so. You’ll want to identify your organizational strengths and weaknesses along with external opportunities and threats. But your situation analysis should not end with a SWOT analysis. Among other items, your situation analysis should address:
- Your market size
- Your position in the market relative to competitors
- Who your competitors are
- Your growth potential and your market’s growth potential
- Your target market and target customers, in broad strokes
- What industry, geographic or other factors influence your industry
The clearer a picture you can paint of where your business is as well as where you could and want to go, the easier it will be to determine the right path to get there.
Marketing Goals and Metrics
Use the insights gained from your situational analysis to establish marketing goals that will strengthen your brand, grow your revenue and market share, or reinforce your market position. Your goals should be aligned with your financial and sales goals and be quantifiable.
Further, your goals should be realistic and achievable. Take a look at past performance as well as competitor performance and industry trends to ensure you’re not setting yourself up for failure.
Pair your goals with appropriate metrics that can accurately gauge the performance of your marketing efforts. The best metrics are those you can directly correlate with your performance and that are time-limited. You also want goals that are easy to measure yet hard to manipulate.
Here, you’ll want to drill down on the specific market segments that are most likely purchasers of your product. And it’s here where you want to dig deep into their needs and wants:
- What problem do they have that a product or service purchase may solve?
- What do they want (not need, but want) enough to purchase? Why?
- What are they looking for in the product?
- How do they make their decisions? What criteria do they use?
- Do they find compelling messages? What media do they consume?
- What do they look like in terms of demographics and behavior?
- Have you checked what compels them to repeat their purchase?
When you’re able to answer these questions, you’ll create a target persona. This marketing tool is a hypothetical representation of your ideal consumer based mainly on the answers to these questions. The marketing plan you’re crafting is designed to compel this consumer to become a customer.
Don’t forget to refine your marketing goals and metrics as you dive deeper into your research. You also should be keeping your eyes on your social media channels as well as consistently checking your customer service feedback to identify value-added insights.
In this section, you’ll want to build on the answer to what messages your target persona and critical consumer segments find compelling. Develop a clear and easy-to-articulate messaging guide that communicates your value proposition, points of differentiation, as well as brand attributes.
This guide will serve as a reference point for not only your eventual advertising efforts but also materials developed for salespeople making pitches, customer service agents trying to upsell, as well as senior leaders promoting the company’s products publicly.
Marketing Strategy and Tactics
Next in the marketing management process is your strategy, which is not synonymous with marketing tactics. Your marketing strategy is the approach you plan to take to meet or exceed your marketing goals. Tactics are the steps needed to execute the strategy.
For example, if your marketing goal is to build brand awareness and buzz for a new alcohol flavor, your marketing strategy might be to target influencers. One tactic might be to sponsor exclusive tasting parties in key regions and invite influencers.
No matter your marketing objective, make sure to develop the right strategy to target potential customers based on your market research. Selecting as well as implementing the right tactics effectively will ensure your success.
Your marketing mix will include an analysis of and recommendations concerning the five Ps of marketing as related to your product: the Product itself, Promotion, Pricing, Placement, People. To assess these elements, you’ll want to answer questions, such as:
- Is the product a good solution for what my customers want and consumers need? If not, how can it be improved, and are such improvements feasible?
- Is pricing unrealistic or appropriate to my audiences? If not, can it be adjusted without compromising financial goals?
- Can consumers get my product where they want or need it when they want or need it? Do I need to change my distribution channels?
- Are the promotional messages, channels, as well as tactics persuasive or in need of adjustment?
- Does the customer’s experience compel them to come back or go elsewhere in the future? What does a positive customer relationship with us look like to them?
As a marketer, you’ll be able to change some of these elements directly. Others, you’ll be left to sound the alarm and hope someone hears it.
However, make sure your marketing mix analysis does extend beyond just promotion to the other Ps. If the other Ps are pain points, you’ll have to find creative ways to mitigate them through your promotional activities.
You can’t do much about your marketing management process without a budget.
But even with a budget, there are other resources you’ll need to execute your marketing plan. You’ll need to rely on staff from your department and other departments. You’ll need time, equipment, as well as other resources that will become apparent as you plot out your tactics.
Make sure to account for all of them. Or you may wind up at your tasting events without product signage, entertainment, or even trash cans.
Building your Marketing Management Plan with Welcome
Many marketing departments spend enormous time and effort developing well-thought-out strategic marketing campaigns. They’re well laid-out, bound and stapled, and circulated to the entire team. Everyone feels good and is excited as well as ready to start to put the plan into action.
A new competitor emerges on the scene, swallowing market share. An ill-considered post has gone viral, and your company is getting flamed online. Financial goals have changed radically overnight, and your plan with it. A key employee unexpectedly quits without notice, and you have to find a replacement suddenly.
Yep, business happens. And all of a sudden, your gorgeous paper plan needs to be revised. But you’re too busy reacting to revise. Far too busy.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could optimize your plan and with it all of your content, creative, and digital assets in real-time across your organization?
Welcome’s comprehensive marketing software platform gives you the tools you need to plan, produce, refine, as well as manage all of your marketing management process. With seamless integrations to your enterprise marketing and sales systems, team collaboration tools that can be customized for every workflow, and robust engagement analytics to measure performance, Welcome can help you rapidly adjust your marketing plan, strategy and tactics as conditions demand.
Not only is Welcome feature-rich and secure, but it’s also free for individuals and small teams. Try Welcome out by signing up today. Or contact us with questions you may have about our Team and Enterprise versions.