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It’s common for business owners to wonder what precisely the marketer’s role should be inside their business?”. Often, they confuse marketing with sales and assume that a marketer’s job is to sell products. This misconception leads some owners and CEOs to believe that a marketer’s primary role is promoting on social media platforms. However, great marketing is much more than just promotions. It’s a multifaceted discipline that requires project management skills.

A great marketer is a great manager

Marketing communications are crucial in raising awareness and driving interest from potential customers. However, simply posting content on social media won’t cut it. Creating a successful strategy requires understanding your audience, crafting a clear message, unleashing creativity, and having a sufficient budget to support it. And once you have a plan in place, executing it flawlessly and continuously refining it is key to success. Tying all the elements together into an effective marketing campaign is a project management role, not a creative one.

Unfortunately, most businesses tend to focus too much on the marketing activity itself and not enough on the management skills required to make it work. A great marketer is, first and foremost, a greater manager of the marketing activity. They understand how to get the best out of every part of the business, suppliers and tools to deliver effective messaging.

Marketing has two legs

The two legs of a great marketing plan are:

  • brand management
  • promotional campaigns

Brand management is the job of making sure your business

  • looks professional (great logo, letterhead, email signature, office signage and website design)
  • looks credible (informative blogs, quality content, well-written brochure, ongoing presence on social media, interesting newsletter).

You’ll have to get these right before you begin any promotional campaign.

Creativity is key

Many entrepreneurs view marketing as a creative field, but few are willing to pay for creativity. The result is a boatload of boring marketing communications that have little impact on potential customers. No pizzazz, no spark, nothing memorable.

Marketing is part art, part science, which means you need to invest in both for an effective effort. That means data and creativity. In fact, creativity – not data – is likely the magic bullet that underpins most successful communications campaigns.

Spending money on creative copywriting, quality photos, professional design, and interesting messages is what generates a response in the market.

It is shortsighted to think posting your latest company update to LinkedIn or sending out an email newsletter equals marketing. That’s only half the job done. You need to make sure it ‘pops’ – that’s the crucial other half! In this area, it pays to employ creatives, who ensure that your creative campaigns align well with your brand persona.

Pay attention to content

Content has become an obsession when it comes to marketing and is really a double-edged sword. Bad content can hurt you. The internet is flooded with mountains of poorly written, half-baked, uninteresting articles that go on and on simply to impress the Google algorithm. Content for the sake of it not going to get your brand anywhere.

Producing well-written, informative content – whether an article, podcast or video – is not easy. To generate something that becomes a sales asset requires an intensive process of research, writing/producing, editing, re-editing, optimising, and promotion. It can completely set you apart from the rest when done correctly. Again, worth investing money in.

You’ve entered a war

As an entrepreneur, you’re entering a hostile world – a war. Your customer might be your friend, but the market wants you out!  You’re going to have to use every bit of data, skill, creativity, and tenacity to gain a foothold and remain there.

The market refers to customers, potential customers, competitors, suppliers, distributors, and even regulators – anyone remotely involved in meeting a particular customer need.

Here are three good reasons why the market stands opposed to you:

  • The competition regards you as a direct threat. They want you gone – and quickly. OUT!
  • Potential customers have enough on their plate and don’t care about another ‘somebody’ wanting their attention and money. Their instinct is: IGNORE.
  • Suppliers and distributors have established cliques, and someone entering with a fresh take threatens the status quo. They don’t want to change. DANGER!

Many business owners don’t realise that they are waging war over and above the daily operational and cashflow battles they fight. They don’t know that the market is against them. In fact, many entrepreneurs think their offering is so unique that the market will roll out the red carpet. This is a naive and dangerous take.

As a business, no matter your size, popularity, or novelty, you are fighting a potent enemy in the market.

So how do you stand a chance?

By having a battle plan. A marketing plan.

A marketing plan is more than a communications plan. It should certainly be more than a ‘social media content plan’. In its purest form, it should cover every aspect of your business that faces outwards – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. In that order.

If you don’t have a marketing plan, you don’t have a battle plan to fight your most formidable enemy – Mr. Market.