Graham has been the marketing director for Matchbox Toys (which probably influenced my kindergarten career), and managing director of Dunlop Footwear and Remploy Textiles.
Today Graham uses his vast marketing and management experience to stimulate substantial growth in promising enterprises; his knowledge is also utilised to give business owners exit strategies – selling their businesses with good effect financially.
I started off by asking Graham about the building blocks that get you value, which are essential to growing businesses (especially in relation to marketing).
“Strategic marketing is all important. But it’s not about creating a brochure or marketing material. That’s tactical and not really where the battle to grow is won or lost.
The key is segmentation and positioning.
Let me talk about segmentation first. The market is not homogeneous and to ensure resources and competencies are well targeted it needs to be broken down.
This all seems straightforward, but so many businesses just don’t understand buying behaviour or the routes to market. It takes time, energy, objectiveness, willingness to embrace change and this is often underpinned by market research.
Yet, all too many businesses are too busy fire fighting or working in cruise control to address these issues. In a recession you are even more likely to get found wanting, let alone not make the most of your product or service.
Positioning follows on: analysing and choosing the segments you can compete on in relation to quality offered, competition and margin. Still too many businesses try to be everything to all and end up being of little note to anyone.”
And how does PR fit in to segmentation, positioning and the recession?
“PR can be a very targeted tool that can build up the appropriate reputation in the segment you want to be in. Social media tools are also fine tools to support any PR campaign. So PR is not an add on or nice to have, but central to engaging a strategic marketing plan.
Moreover PR can enable a smaller business to compete with bigger players or dominate a niche.”
Are there any sectors where PR agencies should target?
“Any industry that offers longer-term employment prospects is worth developing knowledge and contacts.
I think advanced technology and in particular bio-medical, chemical and environmental will be of crucial importance to the economy, especially in the North West.
I would also say hotel, leisure and tourism although that might surprise some in the current climate.”
Graham can be contacted through his website www.exceptionalbusinessresults.com and is also a coach for the North West’s High Growth Programme