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Back to basics with the CIM

At Mackman, we believe in upholding marketing best practice across every project we work on. We attend a range of industry training days throughout the year, and most recently I attended a ‘Marketing Expert’ session hosted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). I thought I’d share some of the key takeaways from the day, in case you weren’t able to attend this time round.

The definition of marketing and how it’s applied has always varied. Customer satisfaction, awareness and communication, to profitability, research and insight, branding and loyalty were all words that were thrown around by attendees at the workshop.

The first key takeaway was to banish the idea that marketing is purely an advertising function. It’s so much more than that, and the workshop sought to broaden everyone’s horizons. Marketing is more about the means of developing deeper insights into buyers’ motivations, beliefs, values and perceptions. This broad function includes identifying new market opportunities, assessing their size and feasibility, as well as using this research to inform tactical plans that target and communicate with a specific audience.

The workshop also looked at the traditional E. Jerome McCarthy’s four Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Everyone who has studied marketing in the last 50 years has been introduced to the 4Ps as a classification system of the various elements of marketing.

As part of the CIM workshop, we revisited the classic four Ps and discussed how they had changed over time. Were they still relevant? What do they mean for marketers and businesses today?

It was very clear that, yes, they are still relevant, but we collectively need to update our view on how they’ve developed and where they fit in now in light of what’s changed in the recent years.

PRODUCT

Product is not just about identifying the physical thing/service you’re selling. You need to be clear about the benefit you offer and how the customer’s life or work will be improved if they buy what you sell. Equally, it is about using customer research to understand what customers want next, helping to develop new products.

PRICE

Traditionally this is about how much you are going to charge for your product or service, asking yourself if the price is correct based on your costs and the prices of your competitors. Today, price is about what you can add to your offering that the customer values more than it cost you. Customers pay if you get the offering right and this is where branding and brand loyalty plays a important role in today’s competitive market place.

PLACE

The question we would usually ask here is, will consumers find our products where they shop? Where we shop has been revolutionised by the internet, and the proliferation of mobile commerce in recent years, which has had a massive impact on the Place element. We now need to be found online, irrespective of whether or not we have a click or mortar shop. According to new research conducted by UK retailer Shop Direct (Aug, 2014), one in four British people now shop online at least once a week. We need to consider how inbound marketing comes into how we communicate with our customers.

PROMOTION

The promotion element really ties everything together. How are we going to promote, advertise and sell this product, at this price, at this location? With more marketing channels to choose from than ever before, the key question is, which channels are most appropriate for your target audiences?

It’s often difficult for companies not to feel pressured to ‘follow the latest trend’. But when you think about it, if your customers aren’t on Pinterest, why would spend time and money developing this channel? Conversely, if your competitors are engaging with customers on Twitter – why aren’t you?

Once you’ve identified the right channels for your target audience, it’s key to connect these channels to make sure you have a ‘joined up’ approach to your tactical delivery. Communicating with your customers throughout different stages of their buying cycle on multiple channels can be amplified if you’re consistent across all platforms. If you’re launching a new product or service, don’t just send out a press release. Make sure you have it on your website, tweet links to it, share it on LinkedIn and send out a targeted email to existing contacts on your email database too.

Promoting your organisation with an integrated approach will enable you to measure the success of your activity in a more strategic way. Setting clears goals for each promotional channel means you can understand what’s working and what isn’t. It can show where investment in marketing is best spent in terms of generating a return, which is essential to small and large businesses alike.

Marketing is undoubtedly always on the move, but it’s important to appreciate these basics which can, and should still be applied today.

For more information about workshops and training days with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, visit www.cim.co.uk

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