By Carrie Bendall
I don’t often write about marketing. It’s quite a tricky subject and I’ve never been very keen on the term ‘marketing’.
To me, marketing is all encompassing, fundamental to developing your business strategy. Crucial to your ultimate success. Why then does ‘marketing’ sink to the bottom of most business owners’ agendas? Why is it seen as a cost not an investment?
I thought I’d look for a definition of ‘marketing’. The Chartered Institute of Marketing helps me a little:
The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.
Interestingly this definition is 30 years’ old. I think this is quite good.
Digging a bit deeper, I found a white paper written by learned marketers searching for ‘Tomorrow’s Word’ for marketing. I read it with relish thinking I would find a new word for marketing.
Just one word please
I found this new definition:
The strategic business function that creates value by stimulating, facilitating and fulfilling customer demand. It does this by building brands, nurturing innovation, developing relationships, creating good customer service and communicating benefits. With a customer-centric view, marketing brings positive return on investment, satisfies shareholders and stakeholders from business and the community, and contributes to positive behavioural change and a sustainable business future.
It covers the ground I like but no wonder ‘marketing’ can be seen as quite a complex activity.
Stripping ‘marketing’ back to its most basic, it’s the art of:
Engaging with your peers, existing clients, influencers and target clients to attract more of the RIGHT kind of clients
Engaging. My one word
It also works well in today’s frenzied, connecting society.
Most of the financial planners I meet are engaging. They love engaging with their clients, it’s what they want to spend time doing and it’s what they do best. The best engagers are interested and interesting.
In order to engage well, you have to be happy with who you are, comfortable in your own skin. Able to converse. Sure about what you are saying.
What do you need to engage?
You need a plan of a few parts:
- Know your objective. How many new clients do you need to engage this year? Make your plan for engagement.
- Know what’s happening. Take a look in the bigger world. Watch others, particularly those who may be scooping up the mind share of your clients. Watch how they communicate. Can you compete? Do you look as good as they do?
- Know your clients and your target clients. Get your clients to help you develop your business. Pick your top ten. Set up meetings and ask your clients what they think of you; what they will need in the future, if they know were you can find more people like them to engage with. Hold a separate ‘asking for help’ meeting not tagged onto the end of the Annual Review. Your clients will feel special.
- Do the same with your centres of influence. They will feel special.
- Use all this information to refine your message, sharpen your service and make the supporting communications materials you need look fantastic.
- Stick to your engaging plan. Be consistent and constant.
Go on. Stop marketing. Start engaging. You’ve got the job.