Marketing is a bit like building a house. The first step is to prepare the foundations and establish a firm base for sales by setting objectives and a plan to achieve them. You then start to build the house according to what the end user wants.
Marketing can achieve the following objectives:
- Raising awareness
- Setting out your stall
- Showing what problems you solve
- Aligning yourself with your target customers
- Building credibility
- Generating leads
With a clearly defined set of marketing objectives (e.g. what are you trying to achieve, who is your target audience, what problems are you solving for them?) a campaign can be put together that combines lots of different factors such as:
- Overall impression
- Logo, typeface, company name and strapline
- Social media profiles e.g. what do you talk about, who are you connected to, how ‘engaged’ are you?
- Articles – via newsletter/bulletin or blog
- Brochures, leaflets, and promotional items
- Exhibition stands
Imagine these as your building blocks. Having an effective marketing strategy means that when you do pick up on your sales activity, your customers should:
- be familiar with and understand your product or service
- know what problems you can solve
- have a favourable impression (assuming you’ve been careful with selecting the right messages for your target market)
At the end of the day, somebody still needs to buy it. And for that to happen, somebody needs to sell it. Sales is driven by human interaction and is about meeting a customer’s needs at the right time.
It is rare that marketing alone will ‘close a sale’ – that final step requires a more personal and direct approach. However, without marketing, the sales process is much harder. In an ideal world, the 2 will support each other.