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Do you agree? Is ad hoc marketing is a gamble?

This article was published on the Herald Sun and was written by Paula Beauchamp.

As the furious pace of business escalates, so does the complexity of keeping one going.

The choices continue to grow: online versus bricks-and-mortar retail, digital versus traditional marketing, and offshore versus onshore accounts payable.

For marketing professionals, it can be an interesting time to advise new and existing business owners, with the emphasis shifting squarely from strategy (the initial thinking) to tactics (the doing).

Melbourne’s Next Marketing founder, Jo Macdermott, has seen a decrease in business owners’ willingness to spend time on strategy, preferring to speed up the process.

“Strategy takes time and brain power,” she said.

“We have conditioned ourselves to act quicker than ever before – be faster to market, particularly as a start-up, and get to the actual marketing more quickly.”

“There’s more of a ‘try it and see’ approach.”

The staggering number of options available in a marketing mix is also making it easier for businesses to get lost in it all, Ms Macdermott said.

“It is so easy for people to get seduced by all the choice, rather than working out first which option is right (for their market),” she said.

“Back in the day, you had a handful of choices, but not as many – maybe a home show, the Yellow Pages or TV – so you had to work hard upfront to get the mix right.”

The trend on fast forward isn’t limited to start-ups.

“As a general rule, businesses are becoming less open to the idea of doing strategy at any point – at the start, the middle or the end,” Ms Macdermott said.

Marketing experts say the pace at which marketing is evolving, triggered by the emergence of digital channels, shows no sign of slowing.

 

But strategy can still play a useful role – it’s the research and planning conducted up front to identify the characteristics of your customer and the buying life cycle, from their initial awareness of your product, through to an action such as a purchase.

“Thinking ‘strategy before tactics’ isn’t a bad mantra to have,” Ms Macdermott said.

‘It can potentially save you money and achieve a better outcome. Rather than spending on trial and error and working backwards, you can formulate a solid plan and move forward.”

In some cases, a strategic marketing plan is essential for investor funding and seed capital.

Constant evaluation is essential.

Rinnai national marketing manager Adam Jarski said marketing strategy was playing a big role as the company expands its product range.

Well known in the hot water market, Rinnai has expanded its heating and cooling product range and repositioned itself as delivering total home comfort.

Rinnasi’s efforts are now anchored by a talking border collie, Rinn.

Craig McLeod, founder of creative agency Red Crayon, which created the ad campaign featuring Rinn, said strategy underpinned everything.

“We engage research companies to assess everything from brand recognition to the position a client’s competitors hold in the marketplace.

 

“Sometimes clients have commissioned their own,” he said.

“It’s essential for everyone to work together to ensure we all understand the market and what the client wants to achieve.”

Once a creative idea is developed, market research again plays a role as creative ideas are tested by panel. “It’s important because there’s a lot of competition and you’re ultimately vying to make your client’s product top of mind for the consumer,” Mr McLeod said.