Customer Relationship Management

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

Explain the modalities of marketing and customer relations if you are to succeed as a marketing manager firm ?

            Marketing is the process of making customers aware of the products and services of a company. It helps keep existing customers interested in a product or services. Advertisements play a potent role in projecting not only the credentials of a company but also help in catering a product to the end users. In other words, marketing is the process of planning and executing the pricing, promotion, and distribution of goods, ideas, and services in the marketplace.

            There are two major characteristics of marketing – expanding the existing customer base and the retention of existing customers.

            The modalities of marketing depend on the audience the product or service is being targeted to. The budgets and use of marketing tools are made concurrent to the end users. Marketing depends on the theory of the Four Ps—product, price, promotion, and placement. Pricing is a process by which the price of a product is determined, while promotion refers to the various methods of promoting the product, brand, or company. Placement or distribution is a method that ensures that the product reaches the marketplace. Place refers to where a product or service is sold. Advertising is the paid promotion of goods, services, and ideas by an identified sponsor.

            There are various methods by which a company can advertise their products; some of them include publicity, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion. Advertising is used to convey the availability of a “”product”” and to provide information regarding the product. There are three objectives of advertisements: communicate information about a particular product, persuade people to buy the product, and keep the organization in the public eye.

            The major objectives of advertising include increasing short or long-term sales, market share, awareness, product trial, mind share, brand name recall, product use information, positioning or repositioning, and organizational image improvement.

            Business Description Marketing is a full-service marketing communications firm, specializing in small-sized and mid-sized manufacturers. It is a home-based, sole proprietorship It relies heavily upon project management skills gained over a period of thirty years in business-to-business marketing communications, as many of the service tasks are performed by known and ed suppliers and vendors.

            What Are Its Services? n general, marketing planning, communications program planning and implementation. Implementation consists of the creation, production and distribution of marketing communications which consist of all or any combination of the following:

• Advertising

• Direct Marketing

 • Sales Literature

 • Catalogs

• Public Relations

• Web Site Design

• Sales Promotion/Merchandising

• Product/Service Names

 • Trade Show Exhibits

• Engineering Presentations

 • Sales Presentations

• Point-of-Purchase

            Displays we will do all planning and as much of the creative writing as possible. We will always do the planning. We may do less of the creative writing as the business expands and requires more planning and project-management time. What Makes Marketing Unique?

            We believe that a major factor which separates Marketing from other marketing communications endeavors is our depth and breadth of experience. Marketing is also developing a Resource Line which will allow our target manufacturing firms to more effectively use their customer and prospect lists. Marketing Strategy How Has Marketing Positioned Itself? Marketing has positioned itself to be primarily a niche-market service supplier. Most established marketing communications firms, because of their overhead, cannot afford to spend time on the lower end of our annual sales volume objective.

            The proprietor has an extremely varied background in terms of different kinds of clients served. This experience encompasses virtually all marketing venues and media. We have an excellent grasp of technical processes, both in terms of product manufacturing and product application. Marketing represents an excellent match for the small-sized to medium-sized manufacturing firm that doesn’t have a large enough budget to attract an ad or PR agency with equal experience and expertise.

            What Is the Nature of the Target Client? Many of the target firms are entrepreneurial in nature. Their principal(s) wear many hats. They are intimately familiar with their business milieu. If they are successful, they figure they’re doing just fine and don’t want or need advertising. The old saw is, “we know who our customers and prospects are, we talk to them regularly.” To a degree, they are right.

            They may be selling in a niche market. Their customers and prospects may be small in number. The nature of their product(s) may be self-localizing, i.e. shipping costs and time may help define their geographical marketing area, hence its size. Almost everyone has local competition, however. What Is the Precise Marketing Geography?

            The different states of a nation constitute the primary marketing geography. Secondary geography is another different states. After these, out state areas along the I-94 corridor would be tested. Business opportunities from any source in neighboring areas would certainly be evaluated. Marketing Assumptions Information on which potential clients have ad and/or PR agencies is not readily available. This information must be obtained in order to reduce the number of prime prospects. Many potential customers do not recognize the need for regular marketing communications activity. This may suggest the availability of more per-project work.

            The target first contact, the Sales/Marketing Manager, is an extremely busy person and may be difficult to reach. If there is no Sales/Marketing person, the CEO will be contacted, although he may be even more difficult to reach. In the Detroit metro area, there are many North American headquarters for off-shore automotive suppliers.

            Most off-shore companies are not serious users of advertising and sales promotion. Sales Strategy Make cold contacts via letters of introduction followed by telephone calls. The approach will be made to the Marketing and/or Sales Manager where no Ad Manager can be identified. Marketing/Sales Managers are extremely busy people who are responsible for the generation of sales materials where no Ad Manager exists. Some may rely upon an ad or PR agency.

            If there is an Ad or Communications Manager, this person should be approached first. The existence of such a person usually means one of two situations:

1) The company already has an agency, or;

2) They have an in-house operation.

            Whatever situation is uncovered, contact should still be made. They may be dissatisfied with their present agency or in the process of disbanding their in-house operation. Even with an in-house operation, they may still go outside for some services including creative.

            In addition to this formal effort, all opportunities resulting from networking and referrals must be followed up on.

Sales Tactics

1. Commence sales efforts with letters to 25 Fee-Based prospects per week, every other week. Use the two week period to follow up with telephone calls for appointments.

2. Commence sales efforts with letters to 10 Project-Based prospects per week, every other week. Use the second week in the cycle for telephone follow-up.

3. Commence development work on the Resource Line. Prepare a best-guess time line for completion of a saleable program.

4. Re-evaluate sales efforts near the end of June for adjustment, if necessary. The first-contact sales letter must introduce Cornelius Marketing as the assistance the busy person needs to help simplify his or her busy life.

            It must identify with the prospects milieu. It must back up CM’s claim to be an experienced, versatile service partner. It must get across the fact that CM will work on either an annual-fee basis or on a per-project basis. The letter will close stating that a telephone call will follow within one week of receipt of the letter. It is important to follow up as stated as this will be the first indicator of performance, that we are dependable.

            Joining an office as the new marketing manager, we will find ourselves caught in a virtual avalanche of work and lofty expectations. To cope, adopt a few of the tried-and-true tricks listed below.

1# Understand What is Expected by us

We may find that we have questions about our primary responsibilities. We should not be be afraid of appearing ignorant by asking questions. Remember, if we lacked the marketing skills the job demands of me, we would not have been selected as the marketing manager!

2# Understand our New Job

Collect any and all information about the job—our new employer, the company, your department, your job, and the people. We should be discreet in our investigations, however.

3# Accept Resistance to Change

As the new marketing manager, we should expect to encounter at least a few belligerent know-it-alls who have been with the company longer than you have. If we do not encounter any, we are lucky. Resistance to change is predominant in every human psyche. Thus, do not expect the team to be overtly friendly from day one. Build bridges.

4# Connect with Our Team of Sales Professionals

How does the team/department function and get results? Are goals being accomplished? Are customers’ expectations being met?

Gather the team of sales professionals and introduce ourselves and our objectives. Brainstorm answers to these questions both as a team and individually. This will help us understand the entire team and its individual members’ strengths and weaknesses.

5# Create Relationships

We should be open, friendly, and approachable. Never befriend only select members of the team. Doing so, even unintentionally, will injure the team’s morale and increase our chances of losing our authority.

6# Ensure Individual Development

A team is made up of various members and their individual aspirations and hopes. Together, as a team, they are a formidable force, but the need for individual progress will affect performances. The team should feel confident that the marketing manager is aware of individual growth while also helping the team’s collective performance to improve.

7# Take Stock Regularly

At the end of the first week, summarize, review, and plan ahead. Identify issues that will require our immediate attention. Repeat this exercise every week. To become a successful marketing manager, we annot let mistakes bog us down; we must move beyond them.

8# Don’t Make Promises We Can’t Keep

As the new marketing manager, we will be judged on our ability to pitch the company’s sales figures. But be very careful what you promise. Keep expectation levels to a minimum and strive to deliver above expectations, not the other way around.

9# Lead by Example

To be an effective marketing manager, set examples for our team of sales professionals to adopt. Set objectives and standards, identify potential markets, and meet all deadlines in order to showcase our own strong commitment to achieving target goals.

10# Accomplish a Few Easy Goals

As the new marketing manager, we should accomplish a few quick, easy goals. This will not only boost our confidence levels but will also pump up the team’s confidence in our marketing abilities.

The role of the marketing manager

For the small business, there are several different organizational approaches to marketing. The duty may lie with a single member of the team, or it could be a group responsibility. The great thing about a small team is the ability to quickly instill a marketing led ethos which can become the operational soul of your business.

Depending on budget availability and the skills of the team, you may chose to outsource certain elements of the marketing process (such as market research) or decide to do these jobs in-house. Key responsibilities of the marketing manager / director vary according to the business but can include:

  • Instilling a marketing led ethos throughout the business

  • Researching and reporting on external opportunities

  • Understanding current and potential customers

  • Managing the customer journey (customer relationship management)

  • Developing the marketing strategy and plan

  • Management of the marketing mix

  • Managing agencies

  • Measuring success

  • Managing budgets

  • Ensuring timely delivery

  • Writing copy

  • Approving images

  • Developing guidelines

  • Making customer focused decisions

The marketing role can be diverse or focused but now we’ll elaborate further on some key aspects which should be at the heart of the job.

Market research

Marketing managers need to have a good knowledge of the customer. This means building up an accurate picture using the resources that are available. It is important to take personal opinion out of as many decisions as possible – you probably don’t think in the same way as a typical customer. Information can be gathered from questionnaires, focus groups, the internet, interviews, buying habits and many more sources, but it’s important that the information is examined in a scientific way using proper statistical methods. Gut feel can only take your business so far.

Development of marketing strategy and plan

Marketing planning should be at the core to any business and is usually presented in the form of a written marketing plan. A consultant called Paul Smith first developed a process known as SOSTAC® which is a useful model used to structure a marketing plan. SOSTAC is an acronym for the following elements of the plan:

Situation Analysis – where are we now?

Objectives – what do you want to achieve?

Strategy – how are you going to get there?

Tactics – what are the details of the strategy?

Actions – who is going to do what, and by when?

Controls – how are you going to measure success?

SOSTAC® is a registered trade mark of PR Smith

            The marketing plan should provide direction for all relevant members of the organization and should be referred to and updated throughout the year. The main reason for the marketing plan is that it provides a structured approach that forces the marketing manager to consider all the relevant elements of the planning process which might be missed if a more rushed approach is adopted.

Management of the marketing mix

            The marketing mix includes all tangible elements that allow you to market your product. This includes facilities, your employees, the product itself, the cost strategy, the process of selling, and how you promote and advertise. The extent to which the marketing manager gets involved in these elements depends on how marketing focused your business is. A product focused organization will probably start with an ides for a new product, then try and determine who is likely to buy it. A marketing focused business starts with the consumer and tried to figure out what they want to buy. Some product focused businesses are very successful but it is generally accepted that a marketing focus provides a greater chance of success.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

            Customer relationship management is the process of communicating with customers throughout the various stages of the purchasing process, and this includes people who have already bought from you. It is significantly easier to hold on to an existing customer than it is to find new ones, but doing this requires all elements of the marketing mix to be run well. For example, it’s no use sending out a beautifully produced customer magazine if your customer service is dreadful or the product breaks easily.

Managing agencies

            It is unlikely that a small business will have the skills in-house to develop all elements of the marketing mix. Websites, brochures, and other promotional items will usually involve some form of outsourced help such as graphic design or printing. Careful management of these agencies is essential to provide an integrated marketing approach to promotion. Agency management involves the development of detailed project briefs, signing off creative work and ensuring the work is delivered on time. Depending on the volume of work which is outsourced, you may feel it is worth developing some guidelines to ensure a consistent style across different media.

Measuring success

            An important element of the marketing manager’s role which is often neglected is the process of collecting and analyzing data on success. This can take the form of website hits, sales figures, market share data, customer satisfaction or many other metrics and it’s important to record and track these as a core part of the marketing process.

Final words

            Marketing managers have a diverse and varied job, and promotion should just be one element of the scope. Championing a marketing focussed business structure will provide a greater chance of success in today’s challenging business environment and will lead to a more sustainable future.

SHIVASHANKAR . V . JIRLI

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