9 Marketing Ideas for Your Organization
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9 marketing ideas for your organization

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By Kathie Pugaczewski, Vice President of Communications & Technology

1. Develop an annual marketing plan that ties directly to your organization’s financial goals.
Many organizations are so busy with the daily operation of business that they put off marketing until they think they will have time. Schedule what you will do on a daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis with clear and realistic measurements of success. Don't be too rigid. If you determine there's a need for a slight detour during the year - take it. The plan doesn't have to be complicated – it just needs to be complete, followed, and measured for effectiveness.

2. Provide consistent customer service.
Build strong relationships with your customers through consistent customer service and make sure that all your employees do the same. Think of the last time you experienced excellent customer service. These days, those experiences are few and far between. This is where you can excel over the rest of the pack. In the book Competing for the Future, authors Hamel and Prahalad state, "There are three kinds of companies – companies that try to lead customers where they don't want to go; companies that listen to customers and then respond to their articulated needs (needs that are probably being satisfied by more foresightful competitors); and companies that lead customers where they want to go, but don't know it yet. Companies that create the future do more than satisfy customers; they constantly amaze them."

3. Ask for customer referrals.
Don't assume that you will automatically get referrals. Ask your customers, colleagues, family and friends for referrals and make sure to thank and reward those who give you referrals. The little things, consistently followed, make the big things happen.

4. Stay in contact with current and potential customers.
Update your customers on new services that you offer or share ideas that have worked for other customers. One way to communicate with your customers is through a newsletter. If you are considering a newsletter, commit to it for at least one year. Publish it no less than quarterly and keep it focused on information that your customers are interested in.

5. Thank your current customers and ask them for feedback.
This seems so obvious, but many organizations do not do this. Don't forget the value of your current customers and the impact that they can have on future sales through referrals and word-of-mouth. Take the time to send a hand-written thank-you note to your customers.

6. Brand your company through consistent communication and a clear message.
Be specific with your message and say it often. Forrester Research found that overly vague or generalized statements frustrated prospects. You are not only competing with others in your profession or industry, you are competing with the 2,000 to 5,000 commercial messages that hit us everyday. Focus on clarity, consistency, and repetition.

7. You may be a small or medium-si zed company, but think BIG.
Watch what other "big" companies are doing and see if some of their practices can fit your company. The only way you will grow is by providing fantastic ideas, services and/or products, making sure that your target market(s) know about it, and most important, making sure they buy it. Look for opportunities to cross-market your product or service to other markets.

8. Watch for trends and apply them to your business and marketing plans.
In What Clients Love: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business, Harry Beckwith identifies four significant trends: Option and information overload; the decline of trust; the growing importance of invisibles and intangibles; and a fundamental wish to connect with other people.

9. Think in terms of getting your customer’s attention first.
In the book Attention Economy by Thomas H. Davenport and John C. Beck, the authors note, “In post-industrial societies, attention has become a more valuable currency than the kind you store in bank accounts. The vast majority of products have become cheaper and more abundant as the sum total of human wealth increases. The problems for business people lie on both sides of the attention equation: how to get and hold the attention of consumers, stockholders, potential employees, and the like, and how to parcel out their own attention in the face of overwhelming options. People and companies that do this, succeed. The rest fail. Understanding and managing attention is now the single most important determinant of business success. Welcome to the attention economy.”


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