The 2020/21 fiscal period and beyond is not only going to be challenging, it will determine the success or otherwise of the business you are managing and if sustainability is possible?

The corona-virus challenge for any business will command that marketing is looked at differently and will force you to scrutinise the products and processes to ensure they are adding value to not only Revenue but also and more importantly to Income. This will need an aggressive revue of costing parameters, sales strategies, and margin levels.

I will outline what I believe are the critical ingredients to the Marketing planning process in order to clearly delineate a ‘Value-Adding’ outcome for business outcomes.

  • Goals– Your business, sales, marketing and operational goals will be the heart of the plan and will provide a measuring stick as part of your ‘Vital Signs’ for future success
  • Market– Analyse the market you are competing in and ensure you gather every possible piece of information which provides possible market conditions, trends, and most importantly competition – What sets your business apart from competition both nationally and internationally?
  • Identity– Your identity needs to be professional and attractive to the market place and what your unique value is to the market. What is your key brand promise to clients and what the business stands for in quality of product and service?
  • Products/Performance– The packaging and presentation of products and their unique performance must be provided through an overview description of features and benefits. They must be differentiated from other products with particular focus on the emotional aspect of marketing – Energy savings, CO2 Emissions reductions
  • Target Market– These must be defined and ranked in relation to their ability to achieve sustainable growth and ongoing company goals. Which markets present with the highest profit potential? Which have the least competition? Who are your target market decision makers and what are their perceived needs? – Finally, how you will leverage sales from market to market and from product to product
  • Competition– Using market research, describe your competitors and how their pricing structure compares to yours, their competitive strengths and weaknesses and how you plan to surpass them by doing things much better
  • Sales Model– Clearly outline how your business sells – Resellers, distributors, in-house, or a combination of these. How are territories structured and the tools needed to support your sales objectives?
  • Marketing Mix– Develop a mix of marketing activities that will support your business goals and marketing strategy ensuring that you have a calendar for completion of all strategic marketing objectives
  • Marketing Organisation– Have a documented marketing organisation structure with JD’s and clear responsibilities and accountabilities
  • Marketing Budget– Have a marketing budget based on all of the above items with clear and concise timings which are used as part of the marketing teams incentive programme

I am a passionate supporter of and believer in Australia’s ability to compete anywhere in the world providing the business commits to putting all of the necessary management measurement and controls in place.

Your Marketing, Sales, and Public Relations (MSP) success depends on all of this. I believe in a well-planned strategy that tightly integrates the MSP process and consistently communicates your business position in the market place.

The basis of future planning will be the extent and effectiveness of your Market Research and this is an area where a great deal of businesses fails through a lack of strategic inclusion?

  • Survey Clients– This will need to cover both current and potential clients. Conduct a professional web survey to include questions like – What the most important factor would be in purchasing a product like ours? – What are the hurdles they face in changing to our product/service? – What would they like to see from us to secure our product/service?
  • Study the Competition– Know more about your competition than they know about themselves. Conduct ‘Secret Shop’ to unveil what the competition offers which will allow you to establish superior assumptions of success
  • Evaluate the Market– Utilise trade associations, publications and research companies and once the information is gathered it must be summarised into your Strategic Marketing Plan.

It’s simply not enough to know your competition, you must beat them

Never has it been more important to know how to compete against your competition than in today’s volatile business environment.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in marketing is to underestimate the competition and market place demands

It is your customer who defines your competitor and not you

Ask your client who they used before you?

  • Know who you sell against and who you lose to when you lose?

 List the product and/or service that competes with yours and how they position their offering?

  • Pricing– Describe their pricing strategy and/or discounting practice
  • Competitive Strengths – Describe their strengths – Price, location, quality, support, target
  • Competitive Weaknesses– Describe their weaknesses – Price, quality, location, support, target, etc
  • Your Competitive Strategy– Describe how you will compete against a specific competitor – Pricing, performance, testing advantages, quality, after sales service

Three Elements Every Marketing Mix Should Have

If you want your marketing effort to be successful after doing the strategy work, defining the target market, developing your positioning, established a competitive analysis and advantage, and packaged your product in a professional and stand apart way, you are ready for the marketing mix – Direct Mail, Email, Social media, Website, Public Relations and the selected tactics you have determined that will offer you a marketplace differentiation and advantage.

  • Consistency – It is vitally important to your marketing plan that everything looks, feels, and sounds consistent. Your target market must hear the same message repeatedly they are more likely to spread the word effectively and to your advantage
  • Frequency– Frequency makes a difference – The primary market should be touched at least twice monthly and your secondary market touched quarterly – Without this level of consistency and frequency your momentum could be lost as there is a huge level of people movement in the industry and memories are short
  • Variety– Consistency is great and frequency is even better but if your marketing mix lacks continuing variety, you could suffer adverse consequences. – Having your marketing rely on just direct mail, brochures, email, or website, will lack the power needed to touch a current and potential market. – Social Media, Promotions, Specials and Personal Visits will set you apart from the competition

What’s Brand Got to do with it?

 Branding is bigger than just a logo. The brand is your company’s promise to the marketplace and underpins your credibility.

Branding is all about the uniqueness of you, it is your character and personality and the core of who you are.

To successfully build a Brand, everyone must work together as ambassadors of the brand and be consistent in how they present the brand to each other as well as to clients.

Starting with a Strong Brand Strategy

 A solid brand strategy defines your company identity and provides mechanisms for enhancing and measuring the impact of that identity on your market, clients, and employees.

Brand Strategy

 Define and document the brand position and promise

  • Overview of Brand strategies and values
  • Create a Brand story
  • Design of your brand elements – Logo, letterhead, business cards, signage, corporate identity materials
  • Outlining your brand plan – define the elements that will be used to strengthen interactions with clients and statutory bodies

Leading from the Front and setting an Example

 Once the strong strategy is in place it needs to be rolled out with great gusto and fanfare. It should be documented and be available for everyone to see and that you can be held accountable for.

Auditing for Compliance

The brand must be regularly audited for compliance which can then be a powerful marketing tool for growth and profit


 Your clients are one of the company’s biggest assets and your client success stories should be your biggest sales, marketing and public relations asset.

Client case studies are one of the most versatile tools a business can develop and can be used in press releases, marketing materials and on the website. They also add credibility during the actual sales process.


 Your website solidifies itself into your marketing plan and is front and centre to your success. However, to optimise outcomes from the website there are strategies you must follow:

  • Work It– The keys to a website are the design, content and capture mechanisms. The audience must be considered with a mix of polish and content. Both polish and content are relevant to technical and business audiences – Adding value to the website could include case studies, PR articles, certifications, emotional aspects including energy conservation and/or CO2 emissions reductions
  • Optimise It– Utilise the latest Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques – technical underpinnings of a website: HTML code, URL structure, HTTP status codes, XML sitemaps, etc.
  • Relevance: content, title tags & meta descriptions, headlines, content structure, readability, topical focus, etc
  • Authority: links and citations, sending the right signals to search engines that your website is a trusted source


  • Will create a presence and communicate the brand value proposition including a full range of capabilities which stand the business apart from competition
  • Will create trust through a strong history of expertise and specialisation. It will also educate the marketplace so that they learn more and attain a comfort level in working together with the company
  • Will create search-engine optimisation techniques which make the company to be easily found by those searching for relevant key words. The company sees this as an important gateway to expanding the business
  • Will create a point of contact for clients who can learn more about the products, services and distribution/installation including after sales service capabilities
  • Will leverage social media networks as part of the strategy to reach a larger audience both in Victoria and nationally. It will establish a presence on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Will create an online sales capability through a virtual store
  • Will share the latest news regarding new developments with updated and fresh, relevant and timely information which will draw the marketplace in for further information
  • Will help understanding the needs, preferences, and interests of clients and establish two-way communication with prospects which will forge a deeper bond with and serve the client base better
  • Will provide clients with multiple ways to interact with the business
  • Will create a means of posting testimonials and create a client based ‘BUZZ’ which gets people talking about the business
  • Will create a powerful promotional tool for governments, statutory authorities and representative bodies


  • Number of website visits the website attracts
  • Content asset downloads which push visitors to a download offer. This allows the business to pull poorly performing pieces of content and also note what the audiences responds to
  • When determining what content is performing best, relate this to the number of social shares and use content that receives a high number of social shares as a benchmark
  • Time on page. Where there are visitors on the page for around 3-5 minutes then it will be regarded as effective content
  • Number of leads generated
  • Conversion rate and what percentage of them are turning into genuine and/or potential clients
  • Revenue generated by content marketing
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