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Building your marketing strategy
By Glen Chapman

How do all your marketing strategies fit together into a complete business strategy? Justin Rolf-Marsh of Ballistix (Brisbane, Australia) talks about a Relationship-centric Marketing Model. Others call it a customer acquisition program, an advertising strategy or a marketing strategy. What ever you call it, it is basically how your entire promotions, sales process and business processes come together in your complete sales and marketing strategy.

We are all in business to sell something. Whether it is a service or a product we want someone to buy from us to make a profit. The sales process includes getting a potential customer interested in your product or service, get them to you door, make and process the sale and then continue to keep contact with your customer to enable "back-end" or repeat sales to take place.

The development of a integrated marketing strategy brings together all the different marketing activities into a coordinated system. The aim is to find cold prospects, turn them into warm prospects and then bring these to your business when they are ready to buy. Automatically.

An example of this type of process has three basic components. The first is your advertising and promotional activity into the market place. The traditional mode of operation is to place an advertisement in the local paper or the Yellow pages that is about your product or service and wait for people to come to you. Once they get there you then spend you time trying to sell them.

What would happen if you started to teach your potential customers about your product or service? Do you think that if you were a plumber in town and you took the time to teach potential customers about how to best plan a bathroom make over, you would convert more sales? Things like what the pit falls are in designing the make over? What new technology is around? What the difference between cheap taps and fittings and how to find quality? By teaching people about what you do, they will then begin to see you as the "expert" in your region or town.

With this as your aim, it changes completely what you do with all your advertising and promotional activity. Rather then running a product based advertisement you might run an advertorial that answer one question or solve a problem of a potential customer. You may even negotiate some editorial content or even become a regular guest writer.

The next part of the strategy is the communication program. This program captures the casual reader or browser and allows you to send information to them regularly. So for your business the idea is that once you have someone that shows interest in your solutions you get them onto your own communication program. This can include emails and newsletters, and if possible in your business, these can be processed electronically so the costs are kept down. What ever you do you need to build a system for the program.

The system allows you to undertake this communication without the burden on the personnel in your business. You need to ensure that if you are doing a monthly newsletter then it does actually go every month, or that regular product updates are sent on time for new releases.

You also need to be able to know the details about the people on the communication program. When they joined, what they were interested in, where they are from. This information then allows you target and provide information to each person as they are ready for it, and better target the products they may be interested in.

The management of this data is vitally important. Firstly it should be easy to import existing data hat you have. Like customer lists from Quickbooks or MYOB. It should also allow you to automate the process for capturing new prospects and customers. For example if you use the internet for a sign up then the system should be able to take registrations from online forms. It also needs to be able to add manual records such as those from phone calls or letters to your office.

The process of adding contacts, verifying details and sending confirmations and finally the communications such as newsletters should all be documented and scheduled. That way anyone that is in your business can pick up the process and ensure it runs properly.

(© 1995 – 2007 Glen Chapman)