Did you know that marketing and communication is at the core of all business growth? I bet the thought has crossed your mind but then running the day to day operations, pushing the service or product, hiring the right team, managing your finances and even raising funds to grow your business always takes the best from a small to medium team trying to build an empire from a passion so intense that many business founders hardly sleep in the first few years of their business. Marketing is usually frowned upon and given a back seat as its seen to be short of a parasite, sucking out resources that are hard to come by and if available are sparingly utilized by “high priority” departments that are seen to give more value for the money put in.
Would however like us to do a little exercise that brings in some practicality into the topic. Picture everything surrounding you right now, everything you have decided on or have purchased for your home or business in the past few days or even this morning. Think back and see that those items came to your attention, as a result, one way or the other of some marketing and communication activity. The daily buys that would come to you as obvious are still as a result of the same successful effort. A business just like yours sat in a boardroom and brainstormed on how to distribute and position that obvious or not so obvious product you can’t do without in a way that it would stay top of mind whenever you need to make a purchase. Marketing and communication influences purchase decisions and the more emphasis you place on this department the more value you create for your product or service in the market.
Marketing is a management process and not just a mere function in your organisation. Your action point before we dive deeper would be to advance this function into your management functions.
Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying,
anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. CIM
While communication is an integral art required to bring out the human aspect from the offering your business brings to the market. I mean strategic brand storytelling and presentation that builds understanding or relatability to your target market. In the evolving business environment, there is no marketing without communication hence the modern coined word that should take precedence for your business should be Marketing communications.
Marketing communications shape how the customer perceives and responds to your brand. We shall cover brands and branding in a different article, but we believe if your business is trading then you have already built a brand. Marketing communications ensures your brand enjoys emotional and physical appreciation by consumers, it builds market share and market dominance which can be enjoyed for years and years by your brand.
In the broad subject of marketing, we have put together simple bite-sized tips that you can easily implement with little to no resources at the moment. So, here are the simple hacks on how you can start prioritizing marketing communication for your business growth.
- Research- Understand your target market: Their preferences, online channels they patronize, places they like going, other personal and professional interests. This ensures you tailor communication that they can relate to and that is tied to offering a product or service that will satisfy their needs.
- Research- Understand your competitive environment: Understanding the competitive marketplace, what peers are engaging with in terms of marketing communication with similar target groups, this advices which activities your marketing team will engage in.
- Research- Understand key trends online and offline that will ensure you can tap into free resources that enable you to reach consumers with the right communication, at the right place and time.
- Implement- Prepare a communication plan and schedule that will entail a content plan with mainly organic (generated from within your organisation) messages that are strategically guided by the research points.
- Channels- The correct media mix: Website and social media should be among your top picks. Choose channels that best resonate with your target market and position your bland in those free platforms. These will be your owned online assets for customer acquisition as well as brand positioning.
- Engage: Maintain continuous communication with your audience, build an online following through the content you share, i.e. brand stories, product success stories, customer testimonials, reports, re-sharing relevant content from peers among other content types and always respond to comments and inquiries.
- Measure and control: Use free online analytic tools like Google analytics for website performance monitoring and social media analytics pages to monitor your online engagement performance in relation to new business or new profitable engagement derived from these channels for your business.
Repeat and improve on these steps. Enlist the assistance of a team member who is skilled in online media management or employ someone even on part-time basis who will be focused on enhancing your online engagement.