As someone whose career in marketing came about almost by chance, with each passing year I am more intrigued with how it applies to many aspects of our business lives (and social) lives. Enormous sums are invested in marketing, with high profile names like Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Nestle spent approximately ten billion dollar each in 2016. That’s ten billion with a B!
Initially manufacturing companies embraced marketing to promote products directly to the consumer, establishing brand loyalty. Later, the penny dropped with service providers so that nowadays financial institutions, utilities, accounting practices etc. all appreciate the importance of allocating substantial marketing budgets. Today one even finds general medical practitioners and legal firms promoting their services.
Closer to home, Diageo – the parent company of Guinness – invested over two billion Euro into global marketing last year alone. I find it really interesting thing that despite having such readily recognisable brands, these vast companies feel obliged to continuously invest in their brand. They see their marketing spend as an investment, not as a cost.
Not everyone feels the same way – some people do not recognise the importance of marketing. This may be because they have a vague understanding of exactly what it is.
Is it simply advertising? Or is selling – both direct sales and indirect sales – part of marketing? Is it about having a good website? Is it about having a positive profile in the mainstream media? Or a strong social media presence? Perhaps it is all about achieving prominent sponsorship of an event or facility such as the Guinness Pro 14 rugby or the Three Arena?
Marketing is indeed each of those things but needs to be much more for a company to reach its potential. Above all, it is about establishing who the target audience is, and then aligning the company’s offering with the needs of those potential customers.
One of my challenges in my marketing role for Aspira, is that while the company is a well-known reputable brand in Project Management Consulting and Training, not enough of our clients realise that we also have an enterprise software development & test team based in our HQ in Cork. Our software team is available to take on client projects and has delivered some massive, custom-built, enterprise grade solutions for clients in both the public sector and private sector.
Clients know we have a team of very experienced project managers and business analysts we can assign to work on technology projects for them. Project Managers tend to be outgoing, gregarious types who communicate openly and get their message across. However our software developers (with some exceptions) tend to be quieter, more focused on the technology than on talking about their skills. So that’s where I need to step in and get this message across, particularly at a time when so many companies struggle to find people with those skills.
In recent weeks, thanks to Cambridge Analytica, social media has received a lot of flak, with major concerns about data privacy. However social media will continue to play a key role in companies’ marketing strategies. As a Business-to-Business company, we find LinkedIn and Twitter to be great platforms to advise our target client base of the upcoming events we are hosting or sponsoring. We also use them to share detail on the services we offer or to let prospective employees know about new vacancies we have available.
The success of Aspira is rooted in the experience and expertise of our team of dedicated professionals – a positive approach to marketing will be a key ingredient to building on that success and continuing our growth trajectory. For more information please check us out at www.aspira.ie.
Author: Clodagh Geary, Head of Marketing, Aspira.