Now That’s What I Call Great Marketing? Back to basics!

Thanks to the Marketing Society for an interesting evening – a combination of ‘what makes great marketing’ and ‘how to win a marketing society award’. For those of us not entering, we were there to hear any gems from the 4 esteemed speakers – Fiona McAnena of BUPA, Chris Macleod of TfL, Sarah Speake of Google, Ian Armstrong of Jaguar.

If you were there expecting a flash of amazing insight into what makes great marketing, you’d be disappointed. Actually the most interesting learning was that they all agreed that even marketers often forget that marketing is STILL about listening to your customer and delivering an experience that keeps them coming back for more. It’s not rocket science. But doing the basics superbly well is still obvious, difficult and rare

Nowadays how you do it gets more complicated – multichannel integration, role of digital, managing diverse stakeholders in big organisations, telling a story that still has suprise and delight in it….

But it’s easy for marketers to get swept away that this is all that marketing is. It isn’t. Marketing is the whole process, it’s the thought and planning behind all this execution – as Chris Macleod said – It’s marketing, not marcomms. It’s the basics done well – objectives, insight, strategy, execution, evaluation.

Many marketers don’t manage to carve out enough time for the objectives, insight, strategy part – and that explains both the need for freelance specialists like ourselves to help them out when they do have to do it, and the difficulty for us in making clients step back and think about whether those steps have been done and are still valid.

In fact one of the questions from the audience was from an agency with that age old problem of  – how do you get the client to understand that their brief isn’t the main problem that needs tackling, we’d be answering the wrong question? We’ve all been there! But it’s an agency problem too, both clients and agency need to revisit the basic questions every time, and often that gets skipped in pursuit of winning the business.

It’s a challenge to us all – great marketing is simple ideas delivered superbly well. But they have to deliver the right thing to grow the brand, at the right stage of it’s life. Asking the right questions, is the essential startpoint.

So as Chris said – make sure you are tackling the first order problem, eg. have people heard of you, do they know what you are…. before you get too complicated!