Podiem Expert Insight

Strategic Marketing – Achieving More for Less
Olivia Stewart

Despite signs of a local economic recovery, budgets in all organisations remain tight. In these circumstances, marketing is often positioned as a cost, rather than a revenue generator and marketers are under pressure to achieve increased results, with often drastically reduced marketing budgets. So how are we to achieve more for less? The answer, we believe, is through strategic marketing.

When people are asked ‘what is marketing?’ typical responses include ‘increasing brand awareness’; ‘television advertising’, and ‘sponsorship’. Certainly these activities all form part of marketing promotion, but they can each involve very high costs, meaning they are out of reach for many businesses in Northern Ireland’s SME dominated economy. The great news, however, is that strategic marketing can be employed in a cost-effective way by any business, no matter what its size, in order to successfully increase revenue, by helping to understand the relationship between marketing activity and its effect on business performance.

In essence, Strategic Marketing is the way a firm effectively differentiates itself from its competitors by capitalising on its strengths (both current and potential) to provide better value to customers than its competitors. 

The use of strategic marketing helps organisations to decide:
1. Which markets to compete in (where to compete)
2. What the basis of the firm’s competitive advantage is going to be (how to compete), and
3. When and how the firm will enter each market (when to compete)

The aim of the plan is to undertake a set of activities that will ultimately generate increased demand for the company’s services. Essentially winning profitable new customers (or profitable new work from existing customers) will lead to increased turnover, increased profitability and the need to grow the team.

We have evidence of how working with clients to create and implement strategic marketing plans can deliver profitable change. The first major aim of the plan is to ensure that all activity is ‘strategic’ rather than ‘knee-jerk’ and is entirely in keeping with the company’s strategy, thus ensuring maximum return is gained from all spend (be it in supply or demand). Very often clients want to jump straight to ‘solution’ mode to gain some new customers when a slight tweak in company strategy or the product offering can open up new markets and deliver a major upturn in new business. Of course, this is not always the case but in every instance getting the firm’s leadership to take a fresh look at strategic issues regularly unearths innovations and fresh approaches to winning new business. At Podiem we often take client companies through the C.A.L.M. model of strategic development. This involves examining the company’s Competitive Position, Asset Utilisation, Leadership and Markets Addressed and applying creative and innovative thought with the aim of refining these areas of strategic importance in pursuit of profitable growth.

For more information on how your company might benefit from the creation of a strategic marketing plan contact Olivia Stewart on 028 9076 1030 or email olivia[DOT]stewart[AT]podiem[DOT]com.