Marketing in 2016: One Size Fits All

by PMA

Marketing in 2016

It was only the 5th of January and I’d already read 100 expert ‘predictions’ for the world of marketing in 2016, when I got an email asking me to sit on a panel to review ‘Marketing your business in 2016’ to an audience of strangers.

I said yes, of course, because you never know who will be in the audience, rapt with your intellect, insight and ideas, then engage your services and be delighted by that experience. But then I have to think about what I think a business ought to consider in respect of marketing in 2016.

After reviewing the peer predictions, I came to the conclusion that having a ‘top 5 things you should consider / do’ is fundamentally ignorant of the ‘Immutable Laws of Marketing’ because ‘one size’ does not fit all. And it never should.

Most of the predictions I saw referred to ‘tools’ and why to use them: Live streaming video content, Data mining, Social Media, Email, CRM Technology, Storytelling, etc

All of which large businesses, with big budgets and big teams will already be aware of (or should be). What about businesses with no marketing department and very little budget? Especially ones that really do not want to spend a dollar more than they did last year).

My audience would be SMEs. Were the ‘experts’ ignoring small business?

Reading a lot of the ‘predictions’ was like watching a bunch of trainee teenage magicians at a village fair thinking they were David Copperfield on stage at the MGM Grand in Vegas.

“For my next trick a new shiny magic bullet [called Social Media].”

“Just add water and your Sea Monkey [Content Marketing Strategy] will come to life.”

Marketing in 2016 or Marketing Communications in 2016

The tools people praise and decry are 99% of the time useful only for Marketing Communications, or Promotional Activities. Not really ‘Marketing’ per se.

Marketing is not a tactical toy box. Marketing is a complex, sophisticated and effortful practice at the core of a business enterprise. Not something added later to ‘sell’. It is straightforward, but it is sometimes hard because it demands rigour, investment, patience, and tough decisions.

How can a professional advisor like me predict what to do for a brand unless they have audited the market, the category, the competition and the customer segments?

How can I relate or contextualize the right strategies unless I have the product life cycle, seasonality, stock levels, sales targets, or profitability?

What about the distribution channels and the pricing strategy?

How can I draw up recommended promotional tactical plans unless I know the size and scope of the potential ROI?

Then there’s the killer app itself: The product. Is it any good? Does it scratch an itch? What is your target segments usage and attitude to it? Are they even aware you exist?

Marketing in 2016: An Answer

On an expert panel or in a 100 word sound bite any answer to ‘how to market your business in 2016’ is going to be shallow unless it’s “Well, that depends.” Followed by the above questions, and more.

So on the panel (and in this article) I’m not going to give any predictions.

What I’m going to attempt to do is ask people to do the simple things well:

Have a product or service that has an advantage over what is being used currently by a market segment (an advantage in value, not price).
Tell them the truth about it’s proposition as singlemindedly as you can.
Use a tool / channel that you can measure, monitor and calculate the return.
If you use more than one tool, or channel then integrate the message.
Don’t add messages to a single execution as adding less important points exponentially weakens the effectiveness of the one message (one word!) you want them to perceive.

Marketing effectively requires expertise, experience and effort. It requires business sense and creative problem solving. It is not easy.

In Part 2 I’m going to endeavour to cover my Hopes and Fears for businesses marketing in 2016.