Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Marketing to your strengths, marketing as a reality check

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on April 12, 2010

I write this posting a few days after adding a marketing oriented installment to my series on developing and managing a Green technology and sustainability oriented, social networking and community based initiative so I have that in mind. But the topic I want to touch on with this posting has equal relevance to any business or organization, for profit or nonprofit as it develops its marketing message.

• Most of the time people think of marketing primarily if not entirely in terms of outward facing message in reaching out to current and potential clients and for maintaining and growing market share.
• When this is taken a step farther, it is usually in marketing to other parties in the organization’s supply chain, or more generally in its value chain.
• Occasionally marketing is turned inward with an eye towards employees, and sharing a message of value. There, objectives can be in reducing barriers of cultural difference and automatically followed processes and perspectives, as you might see after a merger or acquisition but this can also be built into the organization’s Intranet or 2.0 enabled Information Infrastructure to help with issues like staff retention as well.

We market our products and our services, and we market to our strengths and in representing the best of our values. In this, Marketing as a function connects into Sales and also has the capacity for informing Public Relations, Lobbying and a variety of other areas (and yes, HR included.) But I want to propose an alternative capability and this is one where Marketing connects directly into and helps to inform and shape Strategic Planning.

• When you develop an effective marketing campaign, and the underlying vision that supports and shapes it, you take a look at the best of what you organization has to offer, and this insight offers value in both understanding where you are now, and in helping to shape where you are headed.
• Overall strategic planning should in a similar way be feeding back into marketing, that its messages connect with and support the ongoing planned development of the organization as a whole.
• And in both halves of this flow of understanding and value, marketing and the development of message holds potential for unearthing gaps and weaknesses too.

This is largely a matter of how market analysis is done, and from how data is collected and analyzed through to how and where its findings are shaped into a message, how and where that message is shared and how feedback on it is collected, processed and used.

• Organizations that see marketing as primarily a one way flow of information and message, with market analysis primarily used to aim that message loose a great deal of potential value that their marketing could be providing.
• This posting is largely about finding new ways to develop and use market analysis for driving both marketing campaigns and the business as a whole.
• Market analytic data can be the single most informative window available into understanding the motivation and motivators, and the preferences and priorities of the people your organization connects with.

This brings me to a set of basic questions:

• How is your business collecting business intelligence and how does it use this to help inform and drive strategic planning, and for better shaping ongoing business processes?
• How does your business collect market feedback for market analysis, and how does it process this data and use it?
• Do the measures and metrics in these activities connect or coordinate in any way, and if so for what types of data and for what analytically derived metrics?
• Do the right people even see both sets of data or at least the initial analytical screening and filtering findings based on all of this data?
• If so, do they explicitly seek to connect the dots to put together the more comprehensive picture?

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