1) Develop a written marketing plan that defines objectives for today, the immediate future, and projected future. Your marketing plan should encompass budget, headcount, new technology, and trends.
2) Once you establish marketing goals, communicate them to the entire organization. Every employee in your firm, regardless of title or position, helps market your company. When everyone is on the same page the marketing effort becomes that much stronger.
3) Hire marketing people that know how to write and design to avoid unnecessary outsourcing costs, and use marketing dollars wisely to create quality brochures, proposal materials, and online newsletters. Printed material has a limited shelf life so create items that can be easily updated.
4) Develop a strong public relations strategy, as it will help customers get to know your firm in ways advertising cannot. Public relations may involve the development of news items that appears in objective sources, expanding an element of community service, or just managing the press your firm already receives.
5) Engage in advertising that will produce the biggest impact. If your budget is tight, don’t dole out small amounts of advertising dollars for things like marketing “trinkets” or a series of small ads. Instead, determine your target client base and develop regular ad placement in a publication your prime customers peruse often.
6) Make sure all collateral material is consistent with other areas of your brand. Be consistent with the look and content of proposals, brochures, letterhead, business cards, and job signs. Consistency is what helps customers develop recognition for your firm.
7) Determine what your firm does better than any of your rival businesses, then market that skill to differentiate from your competition. Once you define your firm’s unique area of expertise, reiterate this in proposals, advertising, and public relations.
8) Understand what your brand really represents. It can be difficult to take a step back from your company and see it as a customer would, but this is an important step to marketing. Pay close attention to what customers say about you.
9) Banish the fire drill mentality in preparing proposals. A clearly communicated set of expectations with regard to proposals will help everyone on the team understand their role in the process. Project managers, sales, marketing, and management should all be involved.
10) Lack of communication, support, or clear-cut goals will only serve to cause frustration between you and your marketing staff, so clearly communicate expectations. For example, saying you want to get “some press” for your organization is not a clear goal, telling them you’d like coverage by the end of the year in a specific magazine is. If marketing people take direction from more than one person at your firm make sure everyone is on the same page with what the role of marketing should be.
The marketing effort of an organization includes all structured attempts to first acquire and then maintain a customer. When all elements of marketing are put together successfully under the umbrella of an overall marketing plan these efforts can increase sales, provide brand awareness, and solidify your reputation in the market.