The risk of unbalanced marketing is increasing. It’s always been a risk with people favouring the area of marketing they know best rather than truly understanding how it all fits together and how that mix varies business to business, sector to sector and with different target markets.We now have people gravitating into general marketing management roles that could have functional specific career backgrounds. They could have spent their time in website management, e-commerce, content generation, PR, social media and so on.
Inevitably a narrow background means that there is a significant gap in understanding as to how the whole marketing tool kit can be deployed and how that deployment should change depending upon the organisation and its marketing objectives.
It is not uncommon for me to bump into heavily unbalanced marketing activity. Often this is driven by a misunderstanding of how different sectors need different marketing plans. There are plenty of high value B2B professional services businesses that are ultilising a marketing mix that is better suited to a consumer organisation.
Probably the best start point is to be clear about who the organisation is targeting? It could be the audience is actually very small. I’ve seen businesses that have a realistic target global audience of less than a thousand decision makers yet have marketing plans that are utilising a mix of activity better suited to a consumer organisation. For small target audiences why not adopt a forensic direct approach as opposed to background awareness building amongst a wide, largely speaking inappropriate audience?
There are also plenty of organisations that can evidence the fact that they generate most of their new business from reputation and referral. This tends to be high value services where the service cannot be ‘tested’ prior to use and as such the experience of a trusted contact is of vital importance. However, these organisations can still spend way too much budget on ineffective tools and techniques that can work for other organisations, just not theirs!
So what needs to be done? Firstly, there needs to be a general understanding amongst senior decision makers that marketing is an incredibly diverse toolkit of skills. Furthermore, the background of the individual tasked with implementing marketing activities needs to be considered in terms of sector experience and the breadth of their understanding. Gaps will then be identified that can be filled through learning, mentoring and some external guidance as required. Without these considerations marketing activity will be ineffective and budget will be wasted.