Reaching out with Marketing

Security marketers of products and services don't have to go it alone

Research and Planning. Research is the most overlooked, yet, most important aspect of an effective marketing campaign. Big money spent on an uninformed campaign is wasted money. With that in mind, a company should conduct an internal survey of its purpose, current and past marketing initiatives, and evaluate which campaigns and methods have been most effective in meeting that purpose. Companies must understand themselves, and every employee should be able to state the company's purpose and mission statement in one short sentence.

Strategic planning is the process of taking the data produced during the research phase and molding it into an integrated marketing plan incorporating several marketing angles: marketing each of the your company's products, services and programs in a single, cohesive plan; involving every division of the company in selling the corporate message; and targeting the desired audiences through the most-effective mediums.

Message Development. Once you have identified the proper audiences and channels to reach them, you must develop targeted messaging that addresses their issues, creates a story and differentiates your product or service. The landscape of the target audiences for security has and will continue to change as corporation demand more productive and diverse responsibilities from their employees. This means creating messages for the traditional security manager or director, human resource managers, facility and property managers. In fact, many others have influence over the decision, such as purchasing managers and C-Level management. Each of these audiences have different knowledge of security products and services, value and reasons for implementing security. These range of deterrence and confidence of the employees and customers to increased productivity and reducing liability. You should consider each primary and influencing audience individually when developing initiatives and create communications initiatives that support the decision to purchase based on their requirements and perspectives.

Implementation. Sometimes referred to as external branding, implementation of the marketing plan is the process of delivering the company's message to targeted market segments. It is important to employ traditional data mining techniques, polls and surveys during the research phase to extract significant data on the proper target audiences and to develop detailed reports based on that data used to formulate the most effective implementation strategy. In today's multi-media environment, companies need to deliver messages through a number of different vehicles: direct mail, print advertising, Internet applications, speaking engagements and trade show appearances. Such vehicles can be used for implementation of part of a company's message or the marketing plan as a whole.

Evaluation. By measuring member response, companies are better able to identify a campaigns' return on investment (ROI). Resistance to integrated marketing campaigns often comes from budget officers looking at the bottom line. But results-driven marketing with a positive ROI over the long-term is sure to please. During the evaluation process, companies need to be able to read, evaluate and adapt the strategic plan to increase productivity.

Long-Term Success

Getting a company's message to clients and potential clients can be an involved process. Messages must be sent out using a variety of mediums on a continual basis. Not only must messages be diverse enough to reach a varied group of people, but stay consistent enough to reinforce the company's core message.

Strategic planning is key. Unfortunately, situations and resources can at times dictate that a company's long-term strategy take a back seat to short-term priorities. While often a necessary evil, an intermittent or on-again, off-again marketing program is not only ineffective, it is a waste of resources and effort, and can neutralize effective marketing programs done in the past. A company's message must continually build upon each other, reinforcing the company's branding strategy. When in-house resources are taxed, outside partners can provide companies with a number of resources to effectively carry out research, planning, implementation and evaluation of the association's marketing strategy. Combining the flexibility of project-based or centralized marketing with marketing expertise means companies get cost-effective assistance for exactly what they need, when they need it, carrying marketing efforts through to completion and giving companies the best opportunity for long-term success.