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Introduction To Strategic Marketing

by Rok Hrastnik & Nikola Grubisa

After achieving both success and failure in marketing, it became evident to me that best results are produced when marketing is developed and implemented strategically and at the same time integrates all key marketing areas.

For strategic marketing to work, all of its elements must work as well. The failure of just one element might result in failure of the entire marketing initiative, as I learned not long ago.

To explore this further, let's take a look at what marketing really is.

A Strategic Definition of Marketing

Marketing is all communication a company has with its environment, which includes all of its key target audiences, such as prospects, clients, partners, investors, general public and the media.

Consequently, all activities that include communication fall under marketing, especially:

- sales,

- advertising and promotion,

- public relations and

- customer relationship marketing,

- as well as other communicational activities not generally associated with marketing, such as presentations, communication with government officials, communication with employees and similar.

All these must be integrated under the marketing function, all portraying the same image, gradually building it to one day become what the company envisions. Again, all communication a company has with anyone or through anyone builds its image.

If just one activity fails, that all others will as well.

Successful Marketing Originates With the Sale

I learned this by personal experience when forgetting about the sales function on one of my partner projects. It didn't matter that our marketing strategy was sound - because our sales function failed our entire marketing initiative failed.

It goes deeper than this. Successful marketing always originates from a sale one-on-one. Only standing in-front of the customer can tell you what really works best when marketing your product. Only when your sales process is perfected can it be used to "power" your marketing initiative.

If the sales process does not work well, all else will be in vein.

There are some exceptions, such as Fast Moving Consumer Goods and certain Internet based products, but in general sales always should be the first step, tightly integrated with the marketing strategy, building on it and at the same time providing input for its further development.

Using the Internet as an Example

Of course, sales aren't the only activity that must be perfected. As noted before, all marketing elements must work in order for marketing to work.

This can perhaps best be demonstrated by using the Internet as an example.

Let us presume we just built a new web store, targeting a very specific audience.

We need to prepare ad materials that will successfully communicate with our audience, bringing them to our web site in the purchasing state of mind. If the message instead appeals to a different audience, which will not make a purchase on our web site, no sales will ultimately be made.

The advertisements must be distributed or positioned so that they actually reach our target audience, instead of reaching the people that do not care about what we have to offer or are not in a position to buy.

When visitors finally come, the web site must appeal to them and entice them to making a purchase. The web site must be able to sell to them.

The offer on the web site must be appropriate for the target audience, giving them reason to buy and taking in to consideration their situation.

After the purchase is made, the customer needs to have available all the needed customer support and service in order to assure customer satisfaction and produce further sales to the same customer.

Successful after-sales activities require constant communication with the customer, building a strong relationship and reminding her of our offer.

Real satisfaction will only be achieved with nearly perfect product delivery and also with the expected product quality - if these two fail no additional purchases can be expected from this customer.

This was a very simple and straight-forward example, but if only one of the above elements fail, the ultimate results will leave much to be desired - the marketing initiative will not work.

Let's make it simpler, using the above example again:

- Ad copy preparation (requires previous research and a deep understanding of the target audience, which again require previous development of the marketing strategy);

- Advertising and promotion;

- Marketing oriented web site;

- The offer;

- Customer support and service;

- After-sales activities and communication;

- Product delivery;

- Product quality.

This list will be different on a case by case basis, but it still nicely shows the complexity required by successful marketing. Complexity grows with the complexity of the business, adding public relations, internal communication, client education, etc.

Integrating these elements and developing an integrated communicational strategy are the basis for strategic marketing, where all activities originate from a single long-term marketing strategy.

The need for such an approach is evident --- only strategic marketing will bring long-term results.

Discuss this in our Forum

About the Author:

Helping you achieve greater marketing results through strategic marketing education and publications ... It takes a critical and realistic view of new marketing models and analysis of strategic marketing approaches that combine timeless knowledge with modern approaches, demonstrated through real life examples.

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