Marketing is not a presentation, case study, website or advert. Nor is it a company logo, colour palette or font.
Marketing is the effect your company’s actions have on the world at large. It shapes how others perceive your company: from the consistency of messages in your campaigns to the way you engage with local communities; from the diversity of your senior leadership team to your staff attrition rates; and from the way you handle customer complaints to how quickly you pay suppliers.
But, before you start creating new marketing tools or tweaking existing ones, the strategy behind your actions needs careful consideration.
Integrated campaigns are a necessity not a luxury. We live in a multi-channel world where information is competing for attention, so complementary messages ensure that prospects and customers receive consistent assertions each time they see one of the campaign elements.
Disillusion breeds distortion.
Does your company have a set of core values on which everything is built? Do your employees believe them? Leadership and company culture are essential to creating and projecting a consistent and believable shop window. What the outside world sees is what the inside world projects.
Your message, however well considered, can distort when stakeholders engage with disillusioned, ill-informed staff. If your employees do not understand or believe in your message, how can you expect your stakeholders to buy in to your products or services?
In practice, building a deep-rooted, reinforced message takes time and means getting the basics right. It also requires all employees to be motivated to work towards a common goal. The best way to achieve this is to be consistent.
Centralise marketing for consistency.
Developing and retelling a clearly defined message forms the foundation of integrated communications. Using the same strapline or set of core messages or evocative imagery supported by a consistent tone of voice are some ways to achieve this. Repeating one concept may appear lazy, but this is far from true; integrated is elegant and reinforces your company’s brand values.
Inconsistency and inaccuracy are amplified in an environment where people focus on their own region, segment or product group instead of the big picture. Companies with multiple offices or business units, or those that have grown through acquisitions can be especially guilty of working in silos.
A good way to combat this is centralising marketing: strategic decisions can be based on company objectives set by the leadership team and translated into day-to-day marketing activities implemented by the various business units.
Knowledge is power.
Shared knowledge often leads to increased sales opportunities and is where an integrated approach can add real value to the bottom line.
How? Knowing the aspirations and daily activities of each business unit enables a smart marketer to identify hidden opportunities for collaboration between business units. Importantly, it can also facilitate joined-up messaging to cross- and up-sell services to mutual clients or prospects. A strategically developed integrated campaign is more powerful and professional than individual mixed messages.
It sounds simple, but, when employees understand their company’s goals, they are better equipped to meet them.
Knowledge really is power and comes in many forms: it could be market analysis or competitor intelligence, changes in legislation that affect the business, updates to brand guidelines, sales pipeline sticking points or recently awarded contracts.
Customer perceptions are important, but whatever your company’s activities and objectives, there are other stakeholder groups whose opinions matter. Each stakeholder group should receive its own subset of carefully tailored content supported by the larger company message. They should be delivered at the correct time and using the appropriate channel.
For example, a company wishing to refinance may want to highlight positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the financial trade press; a national company may wish to start exporting, so courting local agents may be necessary; and an industry leader may want to garner political support to help drive change at an industry level. Always ask, “What does my stakeholder care about?”
Examples of stakeholders
- Customers and prospects
- News outlets and trade magazines
- Financial institutions such as private equity houses
- Government and industry bodies
- Local communities
|Green Street Marketing has been helping B2B companies turn their ambitious plans into real results for more than a decade. We specialise in high-tech and engineering companies, and believe that marketing is more science than art.
If that’s how you feel marketing should be approached, then get in touch to discuss how we can help you.
YOU are a marketer
Every employee is a marketer and, as such, should have all the relevant knowledge to be a confident company advocate. Do you know your company’s five-year plan? Do you believe in its core values?
The marketing function is responsible for giving employees access to the information they need to feel empowered. Who in your company does this?