Effective, Intelligent Marketing
“Focus on one target segment at a time, rather than the entire market”
Bhupendra Patel, whose career in global marketing has given him experience of marketing at every level, emphasised the importance of thinking about stakeholder needs and how to address them effectively.
Bhupendra set the scene for the masterclass with the fundamentals of marketing, defining marketing as:
- The business process used to determine what products or services may be of interest and value to which customers
- The strategy to use in developing and delivering those products or services or information
- The integrated and aligned communications and delivery of the strategy via appropriate ‘touch points’
Although Bhupendra’s point of view was robustly commercial, the lessons he put across transferred strongly to the non-profit world. He introduced two activities which exemplified skills required in the voluntary sector – creativity and participation – by asking delegates to work on play-dough creations during the session, rather than getting distracted by their phones, and by rewarding anyone who raised a question or shared a view with points. As we all know, points mean … prizes!
As Bhupendra explained how good marketing helps to build strong customer/user/funderrelationships, create value for external stakeholders and for the organisation, helps to maintain important relationships and achieve all this more effectively than competitor organisations, he used a broad range of real life examples from Volkswagen to Viagra to highlight key learning points.
Bhupendra kept discussions at a strategic level, making it clear that without vision and strong strategic thinking and planning supported by a good understanding of external factors – ‘markets’ – marketing activity won’t be truly effective.
Following the strategy development phase, developing ‘value stories’ for each distinct segment is the foundation for effective marketing.
The masterclass began with an interactive discussion on what constitutes marketing. A key point was that customers (users/ supporters) don’t buy/support services, they buy or support outcomes.
Bhupendra’s emphasis on the need for stakeholder (customer) focus, understanding their needs and the importance of being clear about your brand value that addresses those needs - translated well across the sectors.
As one delegate said “The most useful thing about the class was looking at things from a different perspective, and thinking about why stakeholders would want to engage with us."
Only when these stages are clearly thought through should attention turn to achieving the right marketing mix and use of different communication/promotion channels – including suitable levels of marketing investments.
Delegates reported different parts of the masterclass in terms of ‘most useful thing learned’ but the focus on stakeholders was widely mentioned as a valuable learning point. Other ‘takeaway’ tips were to “develop our USP” and “to do less, better”.
When it came to prizes, creativity and participation were combined in the efforts of one group – and they won both prizes for most creative play-dough creation and most contributions to discussions – congratulations to the winning team!
The masterclass was part of The Cranfield Trust’s Leadership Programme, delivered in partnership with The Harpur Trust, in Bedford. Thank you to Cranfield University for hosting the class, and for the support of the Harpur Trust, but most especially to Bhupendra Patel, who gave his time and expertise to plan and deliver the masterclass.
Bhupendra is an independent marketing consultant and Cranfield Trust volunteer.
"The masterclass was great, really interesting and although I have been on a number of marketing courses - this was the best!!" (Delegate)