Strategies for Marketing departments

PR, Branding

A common fallacy is when people think of Marketing as an ‘external-facing’ department that is somewhat separate from the rest.

Of course it does have that role, but properly integrated Marketing directly affects and drives the development of services, responding to external shifts and helping to make services a success by driving their adoption.


Research & Insight

Marketing should always be driven by data, not by assumptions and conventions.

Truly innovative organisations need to predict the trends and learn how to create new markets that don’t currently exist but for which the market is ready.

There should be no room for personal crusades – data and feedback is the only game in town. If learning is done poor or is absent altogether then the rest of the Marketing effort may be in vain.


Branding is about much more than visuals and projecting an image. It is crucially important to be having an on-going conversation with the marketplace.

Branding is also about how it feels to interact with the organisation and the values that are communicated. It is more about what the business does than what it says it does – so it is common to need other departments to make changes to improve the brand.
You need to walk the talk or it will undermine any amount of positioning.


Developing clear messages matters. Not just externally but internally too. Everyone, inside and out, needs a simple coherent understanding of what the business is about and where it is heading.

Whilst some of this will come from the corporate strategy, Marketing has a key role to play in teaching the whole business how to pinpoint the essence that are the core messages behind the strategy. Just as with external messaging, less is more and the simpler the better.

Channels / Media

In the modern world new digital channels appear regularly and the audience shifts its focus and usage rapidly.

It is very important to properly understand the nature of each medium and not treat them all as just a bucket in which to dump your message.

For example, Twitter is all about interactive fast conversations with people, not about broadcasting how great you are. Misunderstanding the medium will compromise the message.


Timing is everything and not just in terms of the market – is the rest of the business ready to respond to new demand?

Campaigns need to involve cross-department awareness and readiness, including contingency plans in the case of massive success. More than a few reputations have been destroyed by the fallout from a failure to handle increased demand.

Great Marketing departments perform a key service to the rest of the business: they reduce the risk of developing the wrong services or evolving them in unsuitable ways.

They provide a focus and discipline to the rest of the business that is driven by data and make sure that everyone knows about the shifting external trends.

Instead of studying customers, surveying them and using narrow techniques such as Focus Groups, why not embed them in the development of new services and service improvements? Assemble a suitable sample and bring them in to the development process, let small groups trial and test early versions of new services to shake out the bugs and use the learning that follows to directly inform how to market these services and how to reach potential customers.

Developing a detailed strategy will also depend on local circumstances. I’d welcome the opportunity to work with you to define a specific approach to your department.

Posted in Strategy.

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