Technical marketing is founded on the same planning and attention to detail demanded of engineering projects.
Successful businesses have clearly stated goals, a strategy and a supporting financial forecast. Marketing has an important role to play in achieving these business objectives and typically includes new product development, product portfolio management and a marketing communications programme. We should regard marketing as an investment that delivers valid returns just as would be demanded of any other use of scarce resources. Consequently it makes sense to plan marketing activities, apply strict budgetary control, set targets, measure outcomes and use feedback to modify and improve the plan.
It is essential to impose organisational discipline on all marketing activities starting with the marketing team itself, the relationship with both external suppliers and internal customers and in particular with the sales operation. A formal, written Marketing Plan detailing proposed actions, methods, rationale and time scales should be shared with and supported by the whole company. The Marketing Plan should be accompanied by a detailed budget which will be used throughout the plan period to measure and control expenditure. Another essential document is a Corporate Identity (CI) Guide which describes how the company logo and image is to be used consistently across a wide range of materials - not just marketing communications collateral, but from company stationery to vehicle livery and service team work apparel.
The discipline imposed by creating the Marketing Plan will require attention to be focussed on a 'joined-up' marketing communications strategy, so that the various marketing techniques such as advertising, PR, web site and email campaigns, are co-ordinated and have a synergy and integration into a complete programme that is absent in adhoc, unplanned activities. As with engineering projects, planning and attention to detail will pay off when the marketing plan is implemented.