Thinking INside the Box

Everyone in business wants to be creative and push the boundaries to increase their returns. It’s essential. But many businesses don’t exploit the basics first.

Is the marketing department in your organisation simply a bolt-on that you feel you pay attention to because you “ought” to? It shouldn’t be. Marketing is a fundamental part of every organisation that pervades the whole thing. Somehow, the finance people, the HR people, and the operational people often have more clout than the wishy-washy “creatives” who speak a different language and force colleagues out of their comfort zone.

Before you spend (valuable and limited) time brainstorming new ideas, running away-days and incentivising staff, think about the basics.

What do your customers/clients think of your business?
It’s incredible how people react – positively or negatively – to the tiniest thing. Marketing’s role is to be in charge of the overall impression given by your company and to make it the best it can be. And it’s not always about “value for money”

Before you start thinking of new stuff, have you got existing things right?
Often a great business is let down by inattentive customer service, lack of data on existing customers, a poor website (or none at all), shoddy brochure-ware, an internal structure that makes progress tricky, premises that don’t live up to expectations, a lack of consistency across the company…make it all work first.

Have you told people what you do/offer?
Media – and especially Social Media – is essential today and will be for a long time to come. Are you putting out press releases to your target market? Contacting your customers/clients regularly with updates? Blogging? Tweeting? Posting on Facebook – on your dedicated company page? …And best of all – and cheapest – turning all your customers/clients into passionate ambassadors for your business?

If your answer to these questions is no (or worse “don’t know”) you’re likely to be missing out.

Address them now. New ideas will keep in the short term. Improving the experience your customers have now will reap much quicker rewards and bring new people to you.