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Best Practices
By Peter Lowy

Browsing the Web recently I came across the Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme - “a global network of institutions dedicated to the identification and exchange of successful solutions for sustainable development.” This sounds like an excellent definition of best practices for business as well. After all, organizations that want to sustain and develop themselves need to identify and implement successful solutions across a variety of functional areas.

In marketing, what works best differs from company to company. But there are a number of “best practices” that will help ensure success no matter what business you're in. For example:

Your best chance of success flows from organizational commitment to marketing. This means senior management should lead by budgeting for and continually engaging with the marketing function.

It's best if you know your target audience. While this sounds straightforward, it can get complicated. Most often you want to focus on decision makers and major influencers, who may or may not be end users.

Marketing/promotion works best when done consistently over time. The people you have to reach need to hear from you repeatedly until they get your message. It's how people receive and process information.

That's why it's best to spread resources over time rather than on a single effort. Because you have to deliver your message four to 12 times before it gets through, you don't want to do spend your annual promotion budget on one Superbowl ad. Not only will nothing remain to pay for the next three to 11 messages, but you will have spent your budget to reach a lot of people who will never be prospects, never mind customers.

It's best to use multiple communication channels. Since different people receive and process information in different ways and at different times, you can't afford to speak through one medium.

Always put your best foot forward. Every contact with customers or prospects is an opportunity to demonstrate that working with your organization is right for them.

For those just getting started, remember that you need not do everything at once. In fact, often it is advisable not to. That way you can build and expand based on what you learn. But whatever you do should be done well.

© Peter Lowy