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5 Key Marketing Insights

Posted on. 29/01/2021

These are 5 non-fluffy marketing tips based on many years of practical marketing experience.

1:Know that digital marketing or the latest marketing trend (virtual reality, tiktok etc) is not always the answer.

These things are all great but can also be a distraction. Your business is different in its needs to everyone else. Digital marketing (web, social, email etc) is just one of a group of channels you can use. Before deciding on the channel, look at who you want to talk to and what to say to them – otherwise you end up with wastage.  

VR or AR are new, shiny and exciting and currently claimed to be the ‘saviour of marketing’, whilst ‘advertising is dead’ but do they work for you? Do they reach your customers? If they do, great. If not, choose wisely elsewhere. 

Channels come last in your marketing decision-making, not first. 

2: Talk about proposition – it’s important.

Going back to point 1… proposition is not ‘new’ or trendy, it’s been around for some time. There’s a reason for that. 

Firstly we’ll define marketing proposition. Essentially, it’s what do you actually stand for. Taken another way, how do customers position you in their heads compared to other suppliers and alternatives. 

Once you have a proposition, all your subsequent marketing decisions are clearer, easier and single-minded. For instance, if your proposition is all about safety, that’s your message. Events you sponsor revolve around safety, the business prioritises safety in it’s procedures, front-line staff focus on safety when talking to customers, ads lead with safety.

See this beautiful example from Fisher Price. This ad couldn’t have been created without the insight and proposition developed by the marketing team.

3 Get marketing involved in all the 4Ps

The 4Ps came into being in the 60s by marketing expert E. Jerome McCarthy, (Product, Place, Price and Promotion –also called the marketing mix). Many people know about the 4Ps, but very few organisations let marketing anywhere near them. 

It’s a mistake! Insights into what your customers like about you and your competitors, the way they use products, services and why, are so invaluable. They can all inform product and service development, or expansion or contraction. Give customers what they want or need, and they choose you over your competitors.

Likewise, with pricing, apply marketing principles to find the optimum price for your product or service. Rather than the ‘cost plus’ option of adding a bit of profit to your cost and comparison to your competitors. Think about Apple, the obvious brand, they command a premium and price accordingly. If they priced to match their competitors or the cost-plus method, they wouldn’t be making the profits they are today AND the desire for the product would diminish as it is regarded as more run-of-the-mill.

Place is where you sell – and marketing has a part to play here too. Being the customer champion and having insights on customer problems and how they buy can significantly influence routes to market. At a pretty simplistic level, if you are a high-quality brand, are you going to choose mass-distribution, or exclusive outlets? Does one damage the brand, does the other better drive revenue streams?

Bring all 4Ps together to give consistency and reinforce your proposition with customers.

4: Clear objectives please, that marketing can own.

As you’re reading this you’re ahead of most in having more than just a tick-box exercise with your marketing. 

It’s surprising how many businesses embark on marketing without any objectives. It can seem a trial, or be rushed to ‘just get it done’, but this is like a journey without knowing where you’re going. How can you decide whether to go by train, car, plane, taxi, bike or walk if you don’t know if you’re going to London, Leamington Spa or Lithuania? Also, how do you know what to wear?!

Key to objectives is making them SMART (specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, timed). It may seem slightly contradictory, but make them ambitious in that they stretch you (which also excites and drives the team) and yet aren’t beyond your reach.

They also need to be within the control of the marketing team – it’s no point making an objective about driving sales if the customer service team are the key converters and aren’t up to scratch. That needs fixing first.

5: Communication is just one small part of marketing.

Communications are what everyone sees – the output of marketing as it were. The tv ads, the website, the emails. Think of these as the end point as marketing that works has had a lot of effort behind it to get to this point.

Done well this includes customer research (and analysis of it), segmentation and targeting, proposition work, pricing decisions, key message development, customer journey analysis, branding.. and that’s all before channels and communication.

Within communications are a whole host of specialist areas too – PR, SEO, events, social media, sponsorship, direct mail, door drop, advertising etc etc.



Find out more about marketing strategy, that important bit of work that comes before tactics in my surprisingly-entitled ‘What is Marketing Strategy’ blog.