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Marketing advice: what is it or what should it be?


I always find this a fascinating subject. I hear businesses owners’ previous experiences of marketing advice and sometimes I despair at what I learn. Of course, marketing advisors or consultants are there to give advice on best how to market a company’s products and services. That is without question. However, there is so much more to marketing than this. Let me explain…

I think the best way to explain this is to explore the typical marketing department in a large company. Within that department, you will have your creative thinkers and your analysts. Whatever genre you fit into; the skill sets are very diverse. Your analyst (the analytical types) will be studying past results, looking at the intricacies of those results in relation to the offering, the market, the audience and other contributory factors. They will create reports based on these findings for the creative thinkers to study and look at ways of improving marketing results with innovative new ideas or adjustments to their campaigns.

The combination of these two skillsets culminates in a continuous flow of marginal gains, looking for increased percentages of engagement and buy-in. In case you hadn’t realized, the business world is run on percentages.

The overarching role of a marketing department is to continually deliver better and better results. As they learn more about how the market reacts to their creativity, they can expand and evolve their spending towards a better bang for their buck. After all, every budget must be spent wisely, and the method required to do so needs that diverse input of skills and expertise. However, as a marketing consultant, the process takes on an even bigger responsibility than the typical marketing department you find in a large company.

The business model, relating marketing to profitability and innovation

This is not to say that marketing departments don’t also study the business model and innovate accordingly. However, large companies tend to have a detracted environment with collective discussions only occurring at the board level. As a consultant to SMEs, my role tends to be just me, a director, or at the very most, myself and the full complement of directors within any business.

Our collective discussions take on a different format

A typical marketing consultancy meeting will discuss the intricacies and knowledge gained from analysis and look at the creative input in order to build better results. However, this expands further to work alongside the business owner in a collective understanding of how to build the business. We explore new products and services. We look at what else our customers will want to purchase, and we look at how we can leverage greater market share in current and new markets. Our discussions equate to board-level communications. My role is the Marketing Director or Manager without an incumbent shareholding and crosses the boundaries in giving not just marketing advice, but very often, business advice too.

Taking this format into the SME world is incredibly exciting and rewarding

I have consulted with many businesses over 38 years. In the past 25 of them, I have focused on the SME world. It is more exciting, innovative and when trying to compete against those that have grabbed the greatest market share in any given market sector, it is a much bigger challenge. The big business has invariably built a strong brand, the SME is still looking at ways to do so.

With that challenge comes more inventiveness, less complacency and resting on your laurels. It is a place for innovation and opportunity, and when everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet with a fully supported business and marketing strategy in place, it is very exciting to behold.

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