Marketing Communications Planning Outline

TRAVEL:

Go out in the field and get to know your customer and their customer's customers.

DIRECT MAIL:

Communicate with your customers and prospects three or four times a year by direct mail. This requires maintaining a good database of your customers and best prospects.

BUDGETS:

Spend more on better customers than marginal customers or prospects. This means mailing new product and service information to customers and key prospects and e-mailing to marginal customers and prospects.

INTERNET:

Have an informative web site that loads fast. Publish in-depth information, engineering guides, etc. on your site and collect names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses from them. Use economical, high frequency advertising to promote your site in a few important publications.

Run modest web site promotion programs with Google (AdWords),Yahoo (Sponsored Results) and submit to the Open Directory Project (http://dmoz.org) . Sell selected products or services at a small discount on E-Bay. Use E-Bay as more of a promotion of your internet site than a single sales channel.

For the best short summary of industrial marketing techniques, download Business Marketing Association Director Rick Kean's presentation, "Marketing Skills Assessment," delivered to the 2005 AdVenture Electrical Industry Marketing Conference.

ADVERTISING AND PUBLICITY:

Only after you have done all of the above consider display advertising. And when you do, be prepared with an application story or at least a press release. If you don't submit articles or publicity in addition to paying for advertising, don't do it. You would be better off running small classified web site promotion ads every month in a few more publications. Classified ads are less expensive because they don't share the publication's cost for producing, printing and mailing of the editorial content you should be providing.

TRADE SHOWS:

The purpose is to go to a trade show and "Meet People Face-To-Face." You should have a plan for engaging the visitor and speaking to him, try arranging breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings or visiting customers in the area. If you don't come away from a show energized about your business because you talked to the people changing the industry you didn't do it right. This includes the editors of the industry publications.

QUALITY:

Never do anything half way. "To do a common thing uncommonly well, brings success."
Henry John Heinz
- H.J. Heinz Company

THE FUTURE:

Don't worry about technology, communicate personally with the industry movers and shakers (editors, competitors, associated business leaders) to stay ahead of the game and be grounded in sound practices that work. Don't believe everything you read or are presented to by industry consultants. I'm one of them but by telling it to you straight and backing it up with objective reporting I hope you can come to your own decisions. Marketing communications is not a science. The only way to succeed is to know the market and communicate to it creatively, economically and often. Repeat and improve the things that work. Drop the unproductive ones and replace them with new ideas.

Empower your employees.