Making Marketing Work - ten steps to create impact

Fragmented initiatives and activities give confused messages to your target audience. They are ineffective and can be wasteful of your time and resources. Organisations need to decide what they want to achieve from their marketing, communications and public relations activities and devise integrated programmes to obtain the desired results.

Every activity or event that becomes part of the programme should seek to strengthen existing relationships or develop new ones.

The following steps will ensure that your marketing programme is designed around your specific business development objectives

1. Setting specific objectives and success criteria

a) Increase in fee tiers/sales levels – from what to what and how many of each?
b) Increase in numbers of clients/customers – how many and what percentage increase is that?
c) Increase in numbers of assignments per client – all clients/ top 20/particular kinds of assignment?
d) Examine where your business was derived from in the previous year and how that can be protected and developed.

2. Developing useful alliances

a) Professional Partnerships – which sector/which firms – set a maximum number you can realistically create an alliance with e.g. joint initiatives – shared costs/reciprocity/client introductions?
b) Industry bodies – you will need to identify specific relevance – i.e. by function/by size – what will they get out of the alliance e.g. joint initiatives/mutual endorsement/raised profile/industry reports?
c) Existing clients – focus groups – can help enormously in positioning/ testing ideas, products and services – networking opportunities/free advice?

3. Identify industry sector/function topical issues and how your knowledge and experience can make a difference?

a) Economic climate – budget changes/markets/funds availability – e.g. minimising negative effects/maximising benefits
b) New legislation/regulatory obligations – UK/EU – e.g. impact and solutions
c) Topical issues – Fraud/Risk/Terrorism/War – e.g. exposure and limiting impact
d) Interruptions to widget supplies – UK/Overseas suppliers – e.g. International trading knowledge/support – Financial advisory etc

4. Effective and interactive communications

a) Newsletter/bulletin with fax-back interactivity – what are your readers views on specific issues – peer input is essential
b) Industry survey (potentially linked into industry body or jointly undertaken with a partner firm) – questions must appeal both to your respondents and be of interest to the media
c) Client questionnaire – what specific information do they most need from you?

5. Relationship development

a) Hospitality programme for alliances/industry sector bodies – with a pre-determined business agenda – remember, each meeting should have a purpose
b) Seminar programme – linking industry concerns/issues with solution providers – invite suitable clients to relate a case study
c) Focus lunches/dinners – key clients and prospects invited to discuss new products/services/communications/product launches etc  - provide networking opportunity and can be shared with industry spokespeople/alliance firms

6. Raising profile

a) Identify key media representatives – radio/television/sector journals – regional/national
b) Devise a pr plan based upon the key issues in your sector and the activities you intend to undertake – this should aim to get the right people talking about the right issues to the right audience
c) Decide who key spokespeople are and train them if necessary
d) Identify who can write relevant articles on key issues – refraining from jargon/ technical bias
e) Maximise publicity for all sector transactions done or assignments completed
f) Use Case Studies or client profiles where you can to illustrate your knowledge of the market and your relationships with your clients
g) Use client endorsements in your Tenders/Proposals

7. Developing networking opportunities

a) Find out where people in this sector go to network – professional associations/sector associations/technical associations/conferences
b) Target key companies/individuals and limit the numbers – focus is important
c) Determine what their particular issues and concerns might be – research their internet press releases and industry journal articles
d) Find out if any of your alliances can introduce you.
e) Invite selected targets to seminars and tell them why you think it would be useful for them.

8. Getting the most out of the marketing/pr effort         

Involve the entire team 

- junior staff – researching industry issues/particular companies
- middle – draft articles/presentations
- partner/senior/middle – hosting events/networking
- partners/senior – conference/seminar presentations

Sharing the workload ensures everyone contributes to the overall implementation and success of the programme.

9.Tracking & Monitoring Performance

a) At the outset create a detailed schedule of all activities in your campaign, including events, communications and hospitality.
b) Clarify actions and responsibilities, per individual, and important deadlines – continue to monitor this on a monthly basis
c) Collate all the networking activities at the relevant membership associations each month and note which staff will attend each one.
d) Each month track progress on all activities to ascertain outcomes and results meet your success criteria. Make sure all successes are communicated internally.
e) Ensure your PR messages communicate your successes externally through press releases, mentioning any involvement with your alliances or the industry bodies. Count how many press releases you achieve each month and note what is interesting to the media.
f) If aspects of the programme are not working, change them. In detail check the follow-up on all networking activities is taking place. To get the best from networking, follow-up should take place within three working days, otherwise the lead will grow cold. If any of the memberships seem unproductive, move onto another.

10. Motivation & Reward

Performance objectives for individuals should become part of their appraisals. Non-billable hours that contribute to business development need appropriate recognition.

a) Devise a method of measuring individual effort  - number of articles written, events attended, interviews given, presentations made, research undertaken.
b) Ask individuals to rate their own performance.
c) Ask individuals to suggest improvements to their methods, success rates.

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