Byline: Jo Corp
SINCE the acknowledgement of marketing within organisations as a critical business function, there has always been speculation as to whether a one size fits all approach actually works.
With more than 90% of businesses in Wales being SMEs (largely struggling in a bitter economic climate) we have to ask if it is right to encourage the textbook marketing planning of the likes of Ford and Coca Cola or whether we need to encourage our business owners to consider innovative, contemporary and less staid approaches to developing their organisations.
Recent research suggests that employees who conduct marketing roles are also responsible for other areas of the business which ultimately leads trained marketing staff to more multifunctional roles.
While this might be essential in the current weathering the storm climate, it can be argued that moving away from the 4Ps of marketing (product, price, place, promotion), Swot analysis and considering the high impact manageable wins are what our marketing teams of today aim for.
SMEs traditionally see marketing as an investment with promotion and communications being the forefront of a marketing or communications plan. This however is seen as being an expensive part of a business. Fundamentally the principles of considering, for example, our strengths and opportunities and ensuring a strong market position have not changed. What has changed are the language and techniques used to do this.
The emphasis of a formal marketing plan may have moved from sitting around a board room table to individual tacit knowledge held by employees within a company who can be relied upon to update social networking sites, write on blogs and continually create new communication methods.
Speaking with a number of local business owners recently, a new business attribute has developed - maintaining the hold in the recession in order to come out fighting the other side.
How do we get back to previous profit lines and margins and yet do this with no money to spend on marketing? One business owner suggested that he had returned to basics. He imagined he had to set up his business from scratch and wrote down a top 10 tips for how he developed his business to its prime across 15 years - this is his marketing plan moving forward.
In another business encounter a client was asked what their unique selling point was. Ten minutes later there was still no clarification on what product the business was selling. …