‘Who’ comes first in marketing

17th of January 2017 Article by Paul Wonnacott
‘Who’ comes first in marketing

Paul Wonnacott is managing director and president of Vectair Systems, specialist in washroom hygiene and aircare systems. The company does business around the globe and Wonnacott has gained considerable experience in many of the world's most important markets. He writes his latest blog for ECJ, on the subject of marketing.

Marketing a product well is as important as producing a good product in the first place. There's no point having a great product if nobody knows about it.

It's very easy, however, to want to capitalise on various marketing channels without giving them much thought. "Everyone these days ‘does' email marketing, so we have to do it too, right?" Not necessarily.

I can think of so many examples of how brands have targeted me with products that have absolutely no relevance to me, whether that's through the post, by email, by phone, or in person. The marketing materials are often very good - they have thought about what they want to say (buy our great new product, it works!), how they want to say it (doesn't our new product look shiny and colourful!) and why they want to say it (it will enhance your life and will make us rich!), but they clearly haven't thought about the most important factor: who they are saying it to.

Let's think about traditional sales and marketing techniques. In the past, before email became the biggest communication channel, a common sales technique was to gather lists and cold call. Many companies still do this today. Cold calling would soon get very boring if you didn't define your lists, as a lot of time would be wasted trying to get through to the wrong people. Another traditional technique was creating territory maps and ‘dropping in' on prospects. Again, this would be a total waste of time if you weren't picking the right places to call in on.

Because we aren't physically talking to someone, we often forget that in the same way, it is a potential waste of resource to mail, email, or e-shot a person who is not in your target market. Too often companies try and gather anyone and everyone onto one master list (prospects, customers, friends, colleagues) and then email them the same message.

Of course, it does take time to split your marketing message by groups, but it is important to define your target market if you want to maximise your sales success. This involves understanding both your customers and your prospects. Firstly, choose a way to group them, whether that's by market sector, by region, or by something else. It is important to separate your customers and your prospects, as different messaging will be needed for each.

Think about the problems that your product or company solves - who is most likely to suffer, and how can you help? How is your product or company relevant to them? A good idea here would be to demonstrate how not sorting out their problems might negatively impact them, and how your product or company could help.

Remember that chances are, if your company is emailing your target customer, then all of your competitors are doing so too, meaning inboxes will be noisy. Therefore, effective targeting could give a real advantage over less well-thought-out, batch-and-blast campaigns.

Finally, remember not to create a marketing campaign just for the sake of it. If you don't have the time to properly plan and execute your campaign, consider not doing it all. It is much better to send out five quality campaigns over the course of a year than 50 so-so ones.

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