"What do you do?” It’s a question that is casually asked in Ubers, at cocktail parties, and in elevators around the globe. There’s even a term for it—“the elevator pitch”: a succinct reiteration of the solutions or a sales pitch. When I tell people that I own my own marketing firm and work with organizations to help them meet their communication goals, there is typically a blank stare. Then realization hits, eyes light up, and the response: “You do PR!”
Back to the drawing board to perfect my own one-liner about my business, I’ve done a lot of pondering about exactly what I offer my clients. Henceforth, I came up with the golden trifecta of marketing communications, planning and content development, and strategic storytelling. This has really clarified my offer to small- to medium-sized businesses and the non-profit organizations I support.
But then, the dreaded “You do graphic design?” or “Does that mean social media?” pops up again and again. So, to set the record straight, what is marketing? The better question to me is, “What does marketing include?”
A good strategic marketing communications plan includes sections on brand. “Oh, a brand is my logo, right?” A company’s brand certainly includes a logo, but in addition to visual cues of design and colors, it’s the essence of what the organization does, its competencies, and its values. Brand includes the personality of the group—what is the voice/tone, language, key messages, and how the organization meets the needs of key audiences.
Once the foundation of brand is set, then an overall marketing strategy can be determined. This includes deciding on the best tactics—like leveraging advertising campaigns and public relations—to market the brand. While a paid social media push is a fantastic idea for product company with incredible imagery, it may not be the best option for a professional services organization. This is where strategy comes into play. And crafting the right story—via this strategic storytelling I keep mentioning—is crucial.
We think content strategy should be at the center of any strategic marketing plan, feeding channels such as website, public relations, social media, blog posts, etc. The goal is to showcase our clients’ expertise in their fields, and strategic storytelling and sharing client’s unique value proposition is at the cornerstone of our communication efforts.
Public relations: absolutely essential—with the correct messaging. Graphic design, snazzy infographics, and catching imagery…yasss! Carefully planned events and orchestrated launches can be excellent parts of a larger marketing strategy. Newsletters…even handwritten thank you notes can be a more traditional tactical arm used well with other components.
I think you get the point—all of the above are encompassed in the bigger grouping of “marketing”. And we do a lot of it…it’s in our DNA and part of our everyday work. Cue the elevator music…and please contact us if we can help you on any of your strategic marketing and communications objectives.