“Strategy without tactics is slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is noise before the defeat.”

This Sun Tzu quote, borrowed from the Art of War is thousands of years old  is still relevant today. Marketing is divided into two parts: (1) marketing strategy and (2) marketing tactics. But most people think it is all about tactics.

In my experience when I hear someone tell me that they don’t have enough funds to do a great marketing job , I tell them it is not more money that you need but more strategy. But strategy takes time and skill and marketers are looking for quick fixes. That’s why social media has become the new God … the new messiah.

Marketers and Communicators are out there thinking if only they can sharpen their skills in social media they will have the tools to be successful in marketing and communications but they are dead wrong. Marketing is not about tactics and social media, as important as it has become, is not the messiah.  Marketing is about strategy. Go to any conference and see what people want to learn about. Not strategy… I actually attended a conference in the USA  a few years ago to give a workshop on marketing strategy and some people were a bit disappointed that I did not spend much more time on tactics. Well the truth is you can have all the tactics in the world, but if you don’t spend the time to build a strong marketing strategy all the great tactics in the world are worthless. How many times have we seen at our Centre clients who have hired ad agencies to produce award-winning ads which fall flat on their face because there is no strategy?

Yes I understand that creating a marketing  strategy  takes time and hard work but today marketers and communicators are looking for quick fixes. But there are no quick fixes and don’t let web 2.0 folks or ad agencies sell you a bill of goods. Strategies before tactics is the only solution to being successful in marketing

In his article  The TGIF Revolution is only half the story Al Ries demonstrates that Strategy is the key to success in marketing but most people think it is about tactics which is usually a fatal error. With the new ways of doing things through social media…  or as Ries calls it TGIF (That’s Twitter, Google, the Internet and Facebook.) marketers have lost sight on the importance of strategy. There is no question that these four revolutionary developments have forever changed the marketing function. But will the skilful use of social media i.e.  TGIF make you a great marketer?
Well obviously not.

As Reis points out

Linens ‘N Things didn’t go bankrupt because they didn’t make effective use of Twitter. They went bankrupt because they were a knockoff of Bed Bath & Beyond without a unique identity.

DHL didn’t pull out of the U.S. market because they didn’t buy enough AdWords from Google. They pulled out of the U.S. market because they violated a basic law of marketing, the law of duality. DHL was the No.3 brand in a category dominated by UPS and FedEx.

Kmart didn’t go bankrupt because they couldn’t figure out how to use the Internet to promote the brand. They went bankrupt because they were squeezed between Walmart at the low-end of the mass merchandiser category and Target at the high-end.

Coca-Cola didn’t fail to build a leading energy-drink brand in three tries (KMX, Full Throttle and TAB) because they forgot to use Facebook to ignite the brands. They failed to build a leading energy-drink brand because they waited too long after the launch of Red Bull.

According to Ries,  Marketing can be divided into two parts: (1) marketing strategy and (2) marketing tactics. And to him there is no question that strategy is by far the most important half of a marketing program.

It’s like warfare, also a mixture of strategy and tactics. The weapons of war are equivalent to the media used in a marketing campaign. How often has an army won a war with better soldiers, better guns, better tanks, and better aircraft?

Seldom.

What wins wars are better strategies? In World War II, the Germans had the advantage of the better weapons, the better discipline, and the most experience. Yet their leader, Adolph Hitler, was a rank amateur when it came to military strategy.

I finally got a chance to read Al and Laura Ries book WAR IN THE BOARDROOM… why left –brain management and right-brain marketing don’t see eye –to eye-and what to do about it

According to the Rieses the problem with management is that managers don’t have the brains for marketing.

This reflects a difference in brain dominance. Managers tend to be left-brain dominant, focusing on logical and analytical ways of dealing with the world.

Marketers tend to be right-brain dominant, getting their ideas more intuitively and holistically.

While the marketing department may have a better grasp of how marketing works, say the Rieses, management always makes the final decisions. And that can lead to companies basing marketing strategies on management thinking.

Where the two differ:

•Management deals in reality; marketing, in perception. Most managers believe that producing a better product is the key to success. Yet, time and again, new products with perfect benchmarks fail, such as Volkswagen’s Phaeton (a luxury car with top ratings) and beverage Miller Clear. Miller Clear tasted like regular beer, if you closed your eyes. “(But) when you drank Miller Clear with your eyes wide open,” the Rieses write, “it tasted like watery beer. Perception always trumps reality.”

•Management focuses on the product; marketing, on the brand.

•Management wants a diversified market strategy; marketers prefer to focus in one area.

•Management targets the center of the market, while marketing targets the ends•

Management wants better products, while marketing wants different products.

Management’s response to a rival is often to try to do the same thing better. The marketing response is to do something different and create a new mental category.

•Management wants a single brand; marketing wants many brands. Management wants the big brand name on everything to justify the money spent on brand recognition. Marketing wants to launch new brands, because often the new product isn’t a good match for the old brand name.

In short, the Rieses believe that management wants good products that appeal to everyone, while marketing wants a powerful brand that dominates a mental category.

Because management makes the decisions, marketing folks should learn to speak in left-brain terminology. The book is a good place to start lessons. Examples are well-explained and down-to-earth. As for managers, even the most logical and analytical types should be able to see the reasoning behind “marketing sense.”

Don’t for get to register for MARCOM The premiere educational forum for public and not-for-profit marketers and communicators. This year’s line-up is the best ever.

Also join me for Branding for Associations –

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn about the importance of taking a strategic marketing approach within your association. You will learn how adopting a marketing mindset ensures that you are driven by what your members, clients and stakeholders need and want versus what you think they need and want. This series is designed to coach you all year-long.  The first in the series “Branding for Associations – why it has become invaluable” is happening February 8 with Jim Mintz.

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Marketing in Government and Non-Profit Sectors … Not a Good News Story

Every day, professionals in the public sector and nonprofit organizations deliver thousands of programs and services in increasingly demanding environments. Governments as well as many non-profit organizations are adopting marketing approaches to help meet the challenges of complex and difficult mandates and satisfying client needs in the face of diminishing resources.

Recognizing the growing importance of marketing in the public and non-profit sectors, the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing and Phase 5 conducted a landmark survey in May 2006 to assess the health of marketing in both these sectors. The study was conducted with close to 600 professionals in marketing-related positions in government and non-profit organizations across Canada. Respondents to the survey were primarily involved in marketing products/ programs/services/policies, overall corporate image/brand management, and social marketing.  For more information see THE CASE FOR MARKETING IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

The study examined eight best practice areas of marketing: culture, organization, planning, management, knowledge & skills, marketing information & measurement, resources, and results/outputs.  The results showed that the government sector, in particular, fared poorly in terms of the level of adoption of best practices in each of these areas.  In five of the eight categories, survey respondents in government did not agree that their organization had adopted best marketing practices

The survey results showed that government had not adopted strategic marketing management in any significant way. Respondents indicated that their organization have adopted very few of the best practices of leading marketing organizations. Government organizations are less likely to recognize strategic marketing as a function that is distinct from communications. As one respondent stated, “Historically, marketing and communications were considered synonymous. Only recently have we started to recognize the difference.” Organizations interviewed lack the culture and organizational support to advance the practice of marketing. They lack a common understanding of strategic marketing principles, from the senior executive level down.

The survey also found that public sector and nonprofit organizations:

  • do not have a proactive, systematic approach to identifying high value, client-centred ideas and turning these ideas into new products, programs and services;
  • are more focused on tactics and implementation than on strategic marketing and planning;
  • tend not to measure to improve results and ensure accountability of marketing expenditures;
  • do not support the marketing function either in terms of funding or culture;
  • and have difficulty attracting, training and retaining staff with marketing skills given the culture and lack of organizational support.

In short, governments in general neglect incorporating a formal marketing process and establishing measurable marketing objectives. They are not effective in implementing a proactive process that considers client needs when identifying and developing new products, programs and services. Governments tend to be reactive, rather than developing proactive systems to address shifts in the marketplace.


Here we are nearly 4 years later. What is the state of marketing in 2010? Well, unfortunately not much has changed. Our Centre in our dealings with non-profits and the public sector has noted the following:

  • We still have many organizations developing one- off disjointed tactics without a strategy and based in many cases on “personal opinions” rather than solid marketing research.
  • People running marketing programs that have no training in marketing and think that communications and marketing is basically the same thing… It isn’t!
  • · Performance measurement and evaluation is virtually non-existent and when done is all about outputs with no regards to outcomes and impacts. In addition the focus of evaluations is on AWARENESS which is the beginning of the marketing process but for most it is the beginning and end of the communications/marketing process. (Spending on public opinion research, for example — which includes polling and surveys often used for evaluations — has tumbled since 2007 to $7 million a year from $31 million a year)  See my blog on research and evaluation
  • Now that on-line strategies and social media and digital strategies are in vogue we now see organizations developing online products and digital engagement tactics without an overall  strategy.  A recipe for disaster!

So where do we go from here.

1. There is a strong need to educate government executives about strategic marketing management principles. This requires recognition of the value of marketing, in terms of the potential impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of programs, services and outreach campaigns, as well as the benefit to citizens.

2. Public and nonprofit sectors are much more familiar with the promotion and communications aspects of the strategic marketing framework than with elements of segmentation and strategic market selection, branding and positioning, product/service management, channel management and pricing. There is a wide recognition of the role and value of the communications function and many organizations have developed communications plans outside of a marketing framework. There is an opportunity to broaden this function to include a strategic marketing mandate and re-positioning it as an expanded role. Marketing can be used to achieve the vision of better informing and engaging citizens by viewing communications within a broader strategic marketing framework. It can help drive results in program uptake, program impact and behavioural change. It can also save money by helping executives and program/service managers make informed investment and resource trade-off decisions.

3. There is no clear marketing function or job category in government and therefore few positions include “marketing” in their titles. In the private sector, marketing has a clear career path. Governments need to look at both classification and standards for hiring marketing people. One respondent to our survey stated that, “Marketing is not respected by colleagues. Economists have much more ‘cachet’.” Judith Madill, in an Optimum Online article, states that, “for marketing to be successful in government, it is necessary to assign responsibility for the marketing initiative to a senior manager with influence in the organization’s decision-making environment.”

4. Most people performing marketing functions in government do not have formal training in marketing. This suggests a clear need, such as the training tools and resources offered by The Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing and the Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing given by Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business,  as well as keeping up to date on public sector marketing issues by attending marketing conferences such as MARCOM.
5. Governments don’t always consider client needs when developing service and product approaches. One manager captured this tendency in the following comment to our survey: “I would like to see a coordinated effort between what we call project leaders and marketing communications. Instead of marketing products or services based on internal political thrusts, look at what people actually need. Build it, market it, and continually serve these clients to meet their needs.” Governments need to examine the process by which they develop and manage products, programs and services. Marketing management systems and practices must be adopted from the planning level on down. Measurement systems must be put in place to track success against marketing objectives and make necessary adjustments to improve performance.

6. Many government managers identify marketing with cost recovery or revenue generation. While marketing can assist in these goals it may be more valuable for other objectives of government – improving relationships with groups and individuals, and serving clients better. Marketing can be beneficial to government because it ensures that clients and stakeholders play a major role in developing and implementing a program/product/service; initiatives tailored to specific segments of the market ensure efficient use of limited resources; and application of the four Ps (product, price, promotion, place) will help move the initiative beyond communications/promotion.

7. Finally since the publishing of our study the world of communications and marketing has changed significantly with the advent of marketing in a digital environment. We now live in an era where the communication and marketing landscape has been completely turned upside down in both the public and non-profit sectors. Social media has become the elephant in the communications and marketing room.  Before organizations consider getting into the social media game in any major way a certain mindset shift has to occur within the organization that caters to transparency, collaboration and participation. This crucial part of the process is all too often being ignored. Instead, organizations are jumping into tactics thinking that social media is merely just another communications channel. That’s a big mistake! Organizations need to start with a digital engagement and social media strategy before leaping into tactics.

As governments and nonprofit organizations continue to try to meet the challenges associated with demands for improved service delivery within budgetary constraints, they need to get their collective act together in the field of marketing and communications. This should result in these sectors delivering programs and services with more speed, quality, efficiency, and convenience.

 

The Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing 2011

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Social Media the Elephant in the Marketing and Communications Room

We now live in an era where the communication and marketing landscape has been completely turned upside down in both the public and non-profit sectors. Social media has become the elephant in the communications and marketing room and many people who work in communications and marketing are overwhelmed with the changes that are taking place. Personally, I spend many hours keeping up with the innovations that are happening in our field. Sometimes I feel that the tsunami of information is overwhelming but as a consultant you absolutely need to be on top of your profession.  Let’s look at what’s happening out there

There are over 200,000 new blogs being created every day. Bloggers publish over 1.6 million posts per day, or over 18 updates a second[1] . Facebook has surpassed 500 million users! Linked-In is now the world’s largest professional network, with over 75 million users. Twitter, a real-time, public, short messaging platform, is used by well over 150 million people worldwide. There are more pod casts in the world than there are radio stations. The variety of topics covers every niche imaginable. What’s more, the widespread adoption of geo-tagging and location-based mobile services is slowly making the concept of privacy extinct in exchange for just-in-time convenience.

So what do a marketer/ communicator do with all of this stuff going on? Before you consider getting into the social media game in any major way a certain mindset shift has to occur within your organization that caters to transparency, collaboration and participation. This crucial part of the process is all too often being ignored. Instead, organizations are jumping into tactics thinking that social media is merely just another communications channel. That’s a big mistake!

The amount and quality of tools and applications is growing at an incredible pace. This leads to many skeptics not wanting to invest time in any particular tool in case it’s obsolete by next year. However, if this is your thinking then you’re missing the point. By engaging in social media, you’re not investing in the tool, you’re investing in the people behind that tool (i.e. building genuine relationships).  People are real and they are here to stay, no matter which platform they’re using down the road

There are many major changes in the world of marketing and communications, however before public sector and non-profit organizations start developing social media tactics it is important for them to ask some fundamental questions such as: What are the key issues that we are trying to address by engaging in social media? Which channels make the most sense based on our target audience? What is the relevant existing conversations already taking place? How are we going to measure performance? What is our existing digital footprint?” and “How can we get engaged in this new digital space of social media before we become obsolete?”  Too often we see public sector and non-profit organizations launch into social media without first having a strategy developed. Now, you would think by now   marketers and communicators would know that it is important to develop a comprehensive communications or marketing strategy before engaging in tactics. But many organizations are becoming so enamored with social media channels like Facebook, Youtube etc. that they forget that strategy comes before tactics. In addition many organizations are not integrating social media with their traditional marketing communications activities.

To learn more about social media marketing check out Public Sector Marketing 2.0 – Fresh insights on government, association, and non-profit marketing in a Web 2.0 world

http://www.mikekujawski.ca/

Also considering taking  a social media marketing course. Go to the following links

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Also we have included social media marketing into our Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing.

REGISTER NOW

[1] Technorati, 2009

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