I’ve been going to a lot networking events recently and one of the joyous aspects about this is meeting other marketeers and advertisers. I’ve started connecting with others who have come up against the same issue again and again. That being, clients or employers who think marketeers can significantly transform pretty much everything in a ‘day’ and without much input from other areas of the organisation. I know that I’ve exaggerated the time aspect slightly, but you get the gist.
Why isn’t this the case?
To put it simply, marketing is an ever-changing industry. Technology is moving faster than ever, customer buying habits are constantly changing. We keep up with that, whilst also trying to stress the importance of how much digital and traditional marketing connects with your customer and requires input from all areas of your organisation, for it to succeed.
So where am I going with this?
Well first and foremost, marketing is a passion of mine and many others. We invest that passion into helping your organisation or charity succeed, but if you think it’s a short-term fix to a long-term problem, you are failing to understand the importance of putting your customer at the centre of your organisation, which is paramount in marketing today.
You are also stringing along your marketeer and everyone else who thinks that your marketeer is going to transform your organisation in a short amount of time.
When this happens, you’ve isolated the one person who can help you create meaningful connections with your customers and staff, based on a misunderstanding.
So how do you and your marketeer move forward?
There are quite a few answers to this question but before we get to that, I’m going to run through the different strands of marketing and how they make a difference to your organisation.
The main aspect that a lot of organisations focus on, and understandably so, is sales. As it stands, sales is about making money. When marketeers enter the sales process they’re job is to identify where your leads come from, increase them and find other lead generating avenues. To do this, they will work with your sales team, as well as implement digital sales tools to increase sales online, if your organisation requires it.
Have you ever wondered why sales and marketing teams don’t seem to get on?
From my experience, it’s often down to expectations and the presumption that through marketing, the sale of products and services will miraculously increase with minimal effort. That is not the case.
If your marketing and sales team don’t work together to create an effective system that ensures their roles are intertwined, then they will continue working in silos, misunderstanding each other and most frustratingly of all, they will not share valuable customer insights that can help your organisation thrive.
Now, you’re probably thinking, ‘what do you expect me to do? I can’t do everything,’ which is true. What you can do is work to integrate both functions strategically from the start. As the head of your organisation, you want to succeed. I want you to succeed, but it can’t be done without thought, energy and a motivation to get people working together.
Here comes the old raising awareness chestnut
Secondly, marketing is about raising awareness. I know that there are some people who will automatically roll their eyes at this, but raising awareness for your organisation works. Those of you who have reaped the benefits of this may be confused as to why anyone would question its worth, but trust me, people do.
When it comes to building and promoting your brand, your marketeer will work to create a visual identity that your customers can identify with. They will get you on social media, utilise your website, use SEO and other digital and traditional marketing techniques, to basically find out how to connect and engage with your customers consistently, so they repeatedly come to you for your services and products.
Again, it’s not a short-term job. The beauty of raising awareness is that it can be analysed using a variety of data and recommendations can be made based on all the information you collect through a variety of platforms.
What can hinder this process?
Misunderstandings. Of what? How your marketing integrates with customer facing staff and their misunderstanding on how marketing seeps into every aspect of your organisation.
Let me give you an example. A customer walks into your store looking for a particular item, it’s not in stock. Your customer asks staff when it will be in. You have an e-commerce website. Your staff member checks the stock due in store. The item isn’t due in till the week after. The customer leaves disheartened.
What vital information did the staff member fail to give?
Ideally, the right answer would be “We sell items online so I/you can check online and if it’s in stock it will be with you in 1 to 3 days.” Deal done. Obviously, there are a number of variables that might affect the potential sale, but the customer now knows that:
1/. You’re online
2/. You deliver
3/. Your delivery time scales
That small snippet of information can be promoted to staff through simple internal marketing techniques such as weekly updates in the form of a bulletin or briefing.
In short, promoting your organisations products and services should not just be limited to your customers. It includes communicating marketing information to your staff and creating a forum for teams to feedback to marketing too.
Customer insights are valuable pieces of information that marketeers may not be able to obtain themselves, so your customer facing staff and sales team are ridiculously valuable when it comes to connecting with your customers on a one on one basis.
How can I incentivise my staff to communicate properly?
That’s a great task for your marketing department to solve. They have the skills to encourage your customers to buy your products, which makes them more than capable of incentivising staff. They’ll enjoy coming up with ideas too, trust me on that!
So what do you do now?
Get started on a plan of action that will get you working on bringing your teams together, get them communicating effectively and building systems that will benefit everyone in your organisation; inside and out.
Don’t forget to think long term. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you need to focus on ensuring strong foundations are set and this takes time. It will be worth it.