Is it just ‘One Direction’ or more like ‘Genesis’ followed by ‘Men at Work’?
When a business owner or board decides they want to call in some expert help in developing their marketing strategy, they often engage a consultant. The expert comes and spends a relatively short time getting to know the senior team and all about the business including its products and markets. They then produce ‘THE STRATEGY’:
a blueprint detailing a stage-by-stage plan about what needs to be done to achieve the business goals and how to go about it.
This is often presented as a one directional flow from the ‘Strategy’ leading to the ‘Brand’ followed by ‘Foundations’, which means things like the website, company brochures and folders etc. and then finally ‘Routes to Market’ which covers aspects such as advertisements, trade shows, digital media, mailshots and so forth.
This may seem logical, built on well-established theory and practices, but the problem is that often, it is only accurate at that one moment, while a really valuable strategy needs to be dynamic: to grow and evolve in step with your business.
Of course, you’ll always know that you will be working through, say, stages 1 – 7 of a plan, and have a good idea what will be involved in each: but, the further down the line the stages are, the less things are set in stone. It’s not about re-inventing the wheel all the time, but more about being aware that by the time you get even to stage 2, aspects of the business or market may have changed.
In other words, it’s about keeping an intelligent and knowledgeable eye on the impact made by your marketing activities at every stage of the process, so the strategy can be tweaked and adjusted as required.
Not so long ago, a company came to us at David Antrobus because they wanted significant business growth. They believed the only way to achieve this was to build their existing customer base up from 100 customers to 150 customers.
But when we talked to them, we found that the real goal was to grow their profit by 30%, so we encouraged them to focus more on where new business comes from, making the point that it’s not always new customers.
Existing customers are already in a relationship with you, so it can be easier to develop those ties, and work to expand the range of products or services they buy from you.
This was exactly the case with our client: they weren’t selling their whole product range to all of their customers – because there was a separate ‘strategy’ for each Division. By aligning the brand and activity, they were able to capitalise on their good reputation and grow their sales organically.
It also became clear that there was an opportunity to extend the product range still further as their customers no longer pigeon-holed them as a single item supplier – something which was completely outside the original ‘Strategy’.
And all this was running alongside the promotional activity to introduce them to new customers, which was still part of the plan, but just one part of it.
Long term relationships
We’ve continued to work alongside them, challenging, supporting and offering advice based on three decades of experience. They’ve now been with us for several years, and their business has changed significantly during that time – and their turnover has more than doubled.
Obviously every business is different – for some we’ll suggest trade shows or advertising campaigns, for others it may be about employing two knowledgeable reps to go out on the road and take the product or service directly to the customer. Our advice is based on what we believe will work – not about what will mean project work for ourselves.
Because that is how you truly build relationships that last: we offer integrity, add passion, and that is how we achieve success, for our clients, and therefore ourselves.
David Antrobus: never a one-hit wonder, more like ‘Always on my mind.’
If you would like to discuss the your marketing strategy, then call David Antrobus Marketing today on +44 (0)1925 909 050.