About Me

Michael Kapp has 20 years of high tech product marketing and product management experience and is currently VP of Marketing and Product Mgmt. for Control Solutions, a leading supplier of Enterprise Mobility  Solutions and Automatic Identification and POS equipment.  

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Tuesday
Feb262008

Building a Foundation for Successful Marketing

Just as a house needs a solid foundation, successful marketing programs leverage core (foundation) elements that have been previously developed.  In any assessment of your marketing capabilities, I recommend that you first start with the following three foundation elements:

1. Brand and brand promise

In today's environment of advertising and marketing message proliferation, brand is even more important than ever.  Gaining awareness requires repetition of a consistent message.   The goal is to not only build awareness of your brand in your industry, but also to create a positive impression, or brand promise, associated with the brand.   This can not be an idle promise.  The brand promise must be reinforced by the experience of your customers in interacting with your product and with your employees at all customer touch points.

It is therefore important to evaluate the brand and related promise.   What is the promise, or desired impression that the brand is to convey?   Does it provide sufficient differentiation from competition?  Are there multiple brands in the company, and are they all necessary?   Does the brand (name and logo design) itself convey a professional image?  Would a tag line be useful to supplement the brand name/logo?   Are there guidelines for brand usage to enforce consistency and maximize awareness?

Once you are satisfied with your brand, logo design, tag line and related brand promise, then you should be consistently using the brand in all marketing collateral, advertising, web site pages, direct mail, e-blasts, etc.   The message/promise of your brand should even be carried through in telemarketing, sales proposals and with all support people that deal directly with customers.  It is important that all employees are aware of the brand and brand promise, and understand how they can reinforce the message when dealing with customers.  Successful maintenance of the brand promise with existing customers will directly lead to stronger customer loyalty.

2.  Company web site

In today's world, people increasingly look to the internet for information.  Your company web site displays your brand, brand promise and important information about the company.  It is your company's face to the world, telling the company's story and promoting its products.  The web site is available 24x7 for prospects to visit in their own time - many of whom are not ready to engage with a sales rep.  

The web site serves as an entry point for leads coming into the company.  When properly search optimized, a web site can be a powerful magnet for attracting visitors who are searching for products or services such as yours.  Visitor information can be captured as leads through a registration form (required for access to additional information) or the "contact us" page.

Finally, the company web site fulfills a support role for many other marketing initiatives.  All marketing collaterals, direct mail, electronic newsletters, even stationary and business cards reference the company web site for more information.  The web site is the natural place to post information about upcoming events and seminars, with convenient online registration.  It is a repository for past newsletter editions and press releases. 

It is critical that objectives are defined for the web site during the design phase.  The brand promise should be prominent and clearly understood.  The quality and professional image of the web site should be consistent with the brand promise.   Depending on your objectives, there may also be a focus on online ordering, customer service, customer education, etc. 

3.  Customer/Prospect Database

It may come as a surprise that the company's customer and prospect database could be considered a marketing foundation element.  It is a fact that existing customers and prospects that have had previous contacts with your company will be the most receptive to your marketing messages.  There is already a relationship established, which could include being set up already as a vendor in the customer's purchasing system.  It makes sense to direct your marketing messages, direct mail, electronic newsletters, telemarketing, seminar invitations, etc. to this group.

The database should include both phone and email contact information, in addition to an industry designation to allow for more targeted messages.  The contact names may come from your company's enterprise system, or from a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system in use by your sales force.  It must be cautioned, however, to avoid e-blasts to prospects that have not provided opt-in permission for emailing. 

Your customer and prospect database is one of your company's most important assets.  By marketing consistently to this base, including providing useful information and offers, you can develop better brand recognition/product awareness, increase customer loyalty, and generate additional sales and cross selling opportunities.   The net result will be an increase in revenue per customer and increased sales productivity for the sales force.

In closing, most marketing initiatives will leverage at least two, if not all three, of these foundation elements.  With these core underpinnings in position, you are ready to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing programs. 

 

References (2)

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Reader Comments (1)

You make some good points, although I must add that a website does not (and should not) rely on search engine optimization alone to generate traffic to their website. While free search engine traffic is wonderful, it is not always reliable in bringing continuous traffic. Companies should utilize various online advertising strategies (eg. article marketing, Adwido, forums, etc).

August 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermlgreen8753

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