Traditional marketing methodologies still have a role to play

Some descriptionA message from Brian Doidge, Chair, CIM South West Regional Board 
As Marketers, we know that we are presented with many complex choices within a context and future that is inherently uncertain.  We also know that we cannot underplay the real significance of analysing our situation and deploying recognised techniques for assessing our external and internal environments. Enabling us to make the most effective decisions that we can, does of course sound much simpler in principle than our experience of it in practice.  It clearly means a lot more than us simply getting creative with the marketing mix or being able to deploy buzz phrases and the latest tools and gimmicks. Effectively differentiating ourselves from our competitors by delivering better value, is we know multi-faceted and draws upon a very wide skill set.

At a recent Marketing Bites event, Regional Ambassador Leighton Jones, provided us with a very timely reminder of this.  In an excellent presentation, we were reminded that we are in a profession that is proud to constantly provide innovative and creative solutions and one which readily embraces technology to deliver customer focused strategies.  However, we were also reminded, there is also a need to remember that there are traditions that not only provide us with much needed frameworks, but also reminds us to be holistic and open in our approaches to identifying, anticipating and satisfying our customer requirements profitably.

The word market, is as we know, both a noun and a verb, reflecting both our situation and our activity, which not only provides an honest living to millions of us, it is also an engine that drives our economy.   Marketing, like management for example, is often cited as being one of the newer professions, although of course it very much reflects one of civilisation’s more ancient traditions i.e. providing goods services in a way that encourages people to buy them. However, being good at it, is clearly harder than defining it.

In our high-speed dynamic environment, the professional marketer can easily feel completely divorced from our traditions.  For example, how many of us relate professionally to autumn as a time of fairs, pies, cakes and agricultural markets? Very few I guess, but we know for example that it is still a time of street markets dating back to medieval times, which continue to remain as major events.   In the South West, we still enjoy the tangible evidence of this in towns like Bridgwater, Sherborne and Tavistock for example, whose autumn fairs, still provide excellent opportunities for business and trading, as well as being very welcome social highlights. Indeed, it is autumn, which traditionally marks the end of the harvest season and that sees us welcome many of our student members each year, who are embarking upon their journeys into professional marketing.   A tradition, which is rooted in the beginning of Michaelmas Term at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and in part, were timed to allow the students to leave their land based obligations behind them, but only once the harvest was in. 

The rhythms of business and its environment are but a glance away, if we care to look and the links to our market and in turn society at large provide us with opportunities as well as demands.   Understanding our macro, meso and micro environments, is a basic role of the marketing professional.  Tapping into factors and forces that enhance our ability to build and maintain successful relationships with our customers, inevitably helps us to plan our marketing efforts in way that will enhance our results.   Indeed, it should be a very first port of call.  We are the conduits with the external, we need to reflect best practice and we definitely need to be marketing oriented, but we should also be oriented towards the market and our environment.