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Marketing Ideas

Updated on June 25, 2013

All out of marketing ideas ?

1. Often the most successful businesses are those that are really listening, either to their own customers, to the competitors customers and/or to the overall market. Often ideas can come to you for free, here are some places to look for them;-




external consultants

general public via web (using a competition incentive)

business schools and universities

marketing magazines and books

industry association publications

market research studies

official statistics

using web tools creatively

2. you could paper the wall with ideas

...but they are useless if not implemented within a marketing framework that contains a number of components;-

'Your Strategy' - you must have an overall plan of the direction you wish to proceed. Your plan should contain your objectives or targets, it is crucial that these are framed in such a way that they are timebound, quantifiable and measurable.

An analogy is building or renovating a house, you cannot have all the construction people and all the materials turn up on the site on the same day - result total chaos. Marketing is the same, you need a framework;-

For Example
To achieve Sales of 60,000 units within the next 12 months

This simple objective is timebound, quantifiable and measurable so you can easily measure how effective you are on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.

You plan is delivered using marketing tactics;- e.g. specific advertising, events like seasonal sales, people like sales reps, devices like discounts or promotions. This is generally called the marketing mix since it is up of tools that when 'Mixed' together result in success. Traditionally these focused on the top four Ps -~

Product | Price | Place | People

Product - the product or service you sell
Price - the pricing methods to be used
Place - the channels you use to sell, e.g. retail, wholesale, online
Promotion - the techniques to be used, e.g. advertising, sales reps, online, public relations,

New thinking and ideas applied to each of the above can have a real value to your business or project.

Marketing is a loop that you monitor and tweak as you proceed by asking;-

  • where are we now
  • where do we want to go
  • how will we get there
  • how are we doing now

3. start with a simple overall framework

Starting with a simple overall framework is often a useful way to concentrate thinking;- think about your industry, read industry reports, talk to suppliers, talk directly to your customers, monitor and/or research your competitors

Figure out the top 10 things you need to do to get where you want to be;-

e.g. objective
a 27% increase in sales turnover this year from last year
a 4% increase in net profit this year from last year

4. who is the customer

Your marketing ideas must be framed in the context of who is your customer.

What is the demographic of the customer, age, job, house, lifestyle, retired, kids, no kids.. you cannot sell to an entire 'population'. In marketing the idea is to use segmentation, find your target and focus on them using segmentation. A simple example of this is gas stations, they are often located on busy roads. Their key segment is people on the busy road, people travelling. Another is Porche, you do not see, or rarely see a billboard for Porche, their target segment is not everyone on the highway so they use alternative methods of delivery for their message.

5. why do they buy - the head wrecker

It is interesting when cognitive dissonance enters the fray, you want to and can buy but are not sure you are buying the right one. e.g. when you are buying a new car suddenly you see more and more cars of this make or model, you see news articles, consumer reports - you may think this suddenly appears but no, it is there all along but now your brain watches out for it.

People generally are overloaded with things to do. People buy benefits not features e.g. a new Volvo has a feature an ultra lightweight body, the benefit to the buyer is better gas mileage. There is a large area of study here in terms of customer perception, motivational factors

You must know why your customers buy and then provide then with reasons and the mechanisms to buy your product, what are the triggers, do you offer finance, free delivery, money back guarantee, warranty.

Do they want economy, reliability, convenience, service back-up, these are just some of the ingredients of the customer pie.

6. how are you on your company quiz

top 20 customers - by value, by volume, by profitability

top 20 products - by value, by volume, by profitability

in retail sales - by month, week, seasonal, day of week, time of day

average purchase value - rising or falling

by payment in percentage of toal - cash card, finance, instalment

ranked by product rising or product falling

by comparison with competitor's product

by new product development you and your competitor

You must know your underlying data, why is this product selling so well, what are the trends at micro and macro levels and how can you capitalise on these trends.

7. sales data and statistics is not boring.. :-)

a lot of your market and customer intelligence is statistical, inevitably it can be made smart or more intuitive using color charts and summaries, pivot tables, pareto charts and best of all IMHO the Ishikawa diagram or fishbone.

The Ishikawa diagram or fishbone.

8. Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa

... was born in 1915. He was a graduate of Tokyo University where he majored in applied chemistry. He was known for the leading Japanese contributor to quality management. Ishikawa’s diagram which is referred to as the "fishbone" diagram shows the user all of the possible causes of a result, and then hopefully find the root of the process imperfections. The "fishbone" diagram pinpoints the root programs and provides quality improvement from the bottom up.

9. How to Use It

Example Sales are below target is the major topic on a blank page

you then to proceed to fill the bone with the major causes at the top of the bone and the effect on the spines.

This is a brainstorming tool, you sit around in a relaxed atmosphere, no cells phones, no interuptions and chart the causes and effects. Out of this will come ideas - strategies - tactics.

9a. budget - a dirty word

marketing is defined as the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

Sales is a very important component or subset of marketing, a different animal. The sales dept will resist this vigorously, always, everywhere, unless the person at the top has a marketing outlook.

You must have a budget, it must be defined;- a fixed amount for the year, the product, the geographic market, a percentage of sales. When you have $500 to spend on your marketing budget then you use tactics that you can afford, likewise when it is $50,000 anyone with a head on them can see that the end document for these two scenarios will be vastly different.

There is a scale issue here, you cannot travel from SF to NYC on $14, unless you have a plan that you can implement as you go along to generate more cash for your budget.



10. A little marketing treatise.

Marketing is implemented through a marketing plan, which starts with the setting of objectives. These will support the overall aims of the business. Next, a company needs to decide how the objectives will be achieved - the strategy. Marketing Strategy is 'The set of objectives which an organisation allocates to its marketing function in order to support the overall corporate strategy, together with the broad methods chosen to achieve these objectives.

The strategy takes into account any research, product or service development, how the product or service will reach the market (channels) and how the customers will find out (communication). It will also attempt to define a unique positioning for the product or business to differentiate from competitors.

The strategy is implemented through the Marketing Mix. This traditionally includes the four Ps:

Product (or service): getting the product right is essential. Product development and management involve design, testing with potential customers and product launching.

Price: pricing must be in line with how customers value your product or service.

Place: getting distribution right means fulfilling customer expectations at the right profit margin.

Promotion: communicating with customers includes corporate identity, branding, advertising, public relations (PR), direct marketing, sales promotion or merchandising, sales and exhibitions.

As the service economy has opened up, three further P's have been added:

Physical Evidence: service sector 'products' are intangible (e.g. qualifications), so presentation of the physical evidence is vital to the brand identity (e.g. certificate, graduation ceremony).

People: understanding customers by researching their personal, cultural, social and psychological profiles is essential in order to meet their needs.

Process: how a service is delivered communicates the brand identity. For example, providing tutorials and study resources via the Internet shows the brand to be leading edge, immediate and practical.

Marketing is a professional discipline, like an engineer or electrician you go to school and learn. It has strategies, tactical choices, you segment your market, you look at demographics, motivations, sales channels, product development, customer loyalty.

Marketing is not a sticker stuck over the top of sales.

As it happens I hold the UK Chartered Institute of Marketing Certificate and Diploma and have being providing marketing support to clients for 20 years or thereabouts. I am particularly interested in bluesky, creative thinking - helping companies to think out side the box.


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    • Drax profile imageAUTHOR

      des donnelly 

      9 years ago from NYC....

      FindYourSearch... thanks for the comment..

    • FindYourSearch profile image


      9 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Nice job on this. I think possibly the most important step is in #3, where you define some measurable goals. Once you have them, only then should you start looking into what avenues to pursue in order to achieve them.

    • Drax profile imageAUTHOR

      des donnelly 

      9 years ago from NYC....

      thanks very much Liquor...

    • Drax profile imageAUTHOR

      des donnelly 

      9 years ago from NYC....

      Hey Thanks Doc !

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Brilliant stuff Drax! Just what I was looking for!

    • Drax profile imageAUTHOR

      des donnelly 

      10 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Emmathanks for the nice words...

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Fantastic Hub! Very informative. I've never seen that fishbone diagram before. Thanks for the info!

    • Drax profile imageAUTHOR

      des donnelly 

      12 years ago from NYC....

      thanks for the comment Paul, marketing should be / could be esoteric except that you often get bogged down with the work of the Sales Dept ...*big grin*

    • Drax profile imageAUTHOR

      des donnelly 

      12 years ago from NYC....

      Jimmy, thanks very much, I hate reading instructions myself and always want to get to the bottom line in as few a words as possible. So it is really great that it hits the target...

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      12 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Marketing is one of those tricky things that few are really good at. One thing that I think makes a great marketeer is the ability to tell a story. Then it gets really powerful when the 4 Ps support the story with truth:)

    • jimmythejock profile image

      Jimmy the jock 

      12 years ago from Scotland

      great clear cut advice in plain english drax great hub.....jimmy


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