Marketing Communications

Successful marketing is a question of identifying your market and using good communications so potential purchasers remember your company, and its products and services, in preference to any other company.

Good communications means regular communications using all the marketing communications opportunities available including, but not limited to, advertising, direct mail, exhibitions, seminars, public relations, etc.

Marketing communications opportunities can be maximised by having a strong corporate image and approach for your company and products. Message clarity and repetition help. The more often the market hears your message and the more uniform your message is, the more people will remember you. Hence the large sums of money spent, not only to establish a brand, but to sustain a brand.

To this end, your marketing can be more effective if you devise a message, key sentence or strap line which is unique and therefore a first, in your market or sector of market. From a marketing view point it can be better to be the first in the market rather than the best, though obviously it is better to be both.

For Var’s, horizontal markets may appear to have the biggest potential, but you may be better off selling into a vertical market or niche markets. The advantage of this approach can be that you become an expert in that market knowing the lingo, culture and the way things are done. This increases your credibility and improves your chances of getting an order by helping your prospect feel more comfortable.

If you have a clear idea of which segment of a market your product addresses, and you develop a key sentence, strap line, or company statement for that position in the market, you can add considerable impact.

“Warehousing systems for the pharmaceuticals distributor” tells prospects more about your company than “Warehousing systems for the modern company” or “The best warehousing systems” and is better than my favourite which is “We specialise in everything” (my local garage!).

By targeting your products or services at a niche, you can create an impact at less expense. Having established a profitable business in a niche you can either develop new markets for existing products or develop new products for existing markets, on the back of the success and good will earned.

If you decide to develop new products you will have to consider your approach to marketing. Lexus cars are manufactured by Toyota but Toyota knew they would have to create a new brand to sell the Lexus range of luxury cars. This was necessary as Toyota had an excellent name for producing small cars but no reputation at all for luxury cars. As the Lexus name has become established, and the Toyota range of cars has moved up market, a merging of the brands has become acceptable at some outlets.

Software developers are used to producing product literature which outlines the features of their products and the benefits. Sometimes the lists can be quite long and this can dilute effect and impact. If you prefer the narrower and more focused approach, you might like to consider reducing the number of features and developing the benefits of the features you do retain, further. For instance, show how savings can be made and give working examples. Perhaps working examples can be shown in case studies. Certainly, the closer the example to the target market, the more comfortable the prospect will feel and the more credible you will be. This will reduce possible objections at the close and reduce the cost of sale. Where credibility can be maximised further, higher gross profit margins can be won.

Once a clear and unique benefit is established the ‘Halo effect’ will work for you and other benefits will be attributed to your product or service with little or no effort.

Markets have evolving hot spots and the closer you are to a particular market the more in touch you are likely to be with the hot spots. Even if your brochures cannot be changed every 10 minutes, your direct mail can. Each direct mailing should identify the hottest hot spot for that market and indicate your company’s solution.

All direct mailings should include a prepaid reply card and these are cheap to change and produce. All reply cards should ask questions to help you identify the prospects hot spots and qualify the prospect.

Marketing is about focusing on the needs of your market in the same way as a good salesman focuses on the needs of his prospect. This means that before you can communicate, you have to listen to your market. The more you understand your market, the better you will be able to service it. That is not to say that you should turn down other business opportunities, but it does mean that clarity of thought and effective communications is what you should aim for.

Good marketing communications is based on:-

  • Clear understanding of a markets needs
  • Clear understanding of how the product meets that markets needs
  • Clarity and simplicity of message
  • Message repetition
  • The use of all available marketing communications opportunities.
  • Marketing is about focus
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