Useful introduction to marketing

Social media is at the top of the obsession list right now. Many companies think social media is the absolute best way to reach people. It isn’t, according to Whitney Keyes in her book Propel: Five Ways to Amp Up Your Marketing and Accelerate Business. Social media tools are just some pieces of the ever-changing marketing puzzle, and effective marketing is not about the tools you use as much as it is about effectively connecting with clients.

A complete approach to marketing requires five elements, which the author lists as Strategy, Story, Strength, Simplicity and Speed. The Strategy element includes setting vision, mission, values, goals and objectives, and conducting a SWOT analysis. The Story element is about creating your brand package, finding customer segments and target markets, and customer relationship management. The Strength element is about managing the relationship cycle to retain current customers and obtain referrals, partnering with others in marketing efforts, and using the media. The Simplicity element includes creating an action plan and taking advantage of your existing opportunities. The Speed element is about monitoring results and making quick adjustments to gain optimal results.

Some years ago, marketing was mainly about convincing people to buy pre-defined goods or services and it involved the four Ps of price, product, promotion and place. Now, marketing as described in this book seems to be an integral part of designing the business itself, encompassing the business’s strategic planning. The chapter on forming partnerships with others – including business rivals – contained some particularly interesting ideas.

Although the author has a background working with very large organisations, the book will be particularly useful for those who have limited marketing experience and are starting up businesses or running small or medium-sized businesses or non-profit organisations.

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