Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Communications


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Foster Marketing CEO George Foster presented at this year’s Marketing in the Oilfield Conference in Houston. This presentation covers differentiating marketing strategy and marketing communications. A video of this presentation is also available on our YouTube channel at

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  • I’m George Foster, CEO of Foster Marketing, with offices in Houston and Lafayette, LA, and clients all over the world. In August we celebrated our 32nd year in business and today 99% of our clients are oil and gas service companies.When I was asked to present, I thought a prime topic for kicking off the session was to differentiate marketing and marketing communications, terms that are loosely interchanged including the flyer for this conference.We’ve had a name evolution in our own company as we’ve gone from an advertising agency to a marketing communications company to a marketing company, starting as The Foster Agency (had to change that name….) to Foster Marketing Communications in 1995 ( to now Foster Marketing.
  • Son asked what his dad at Marketo and then asked “what is marketing”
  • Son asked what his dad at Marketo and then asked “what is marketing”
  • Little 4-year-old Riley askswhy do girls need to choose pink and little princesses, while boys get action toys and more colors. Little Riley gives marketers insight into the dilemma creative kids have because marketers try to push customers into a specific stereotype. In our business strategy we expect girls to like pink and boys to like blue.Don’t we hope to push customers into liking one mud pump over another, in this case more than 40 manufacturers in all kinds of colors.
  • Much more than promotions and marketing campaigns
  • Vynckier story..again you can be too successful with so many leads they can’t all be followed up…a webinar developed 3,600 leads and the client literally could not follow them up
  • An old gentleman owned a hot dog stand. His hot dogs were famous for blocks and blocks, maybe even miles and miles. People loved his hot dogs. He had a couple of people working for him and advertised in all of the local papers. He hired kids to put signs on poles and he even made calls on groups of people to encourage them to stop and try his hot dogs.Once people tried his hot dogs they were hooked. Business was good, so good in fact that he was able to open a couple more stands and put his son through college.One day his son came home and begin to talk to his father about what he had been learning. “There’s a recession on out there pops.” The young man said. “You’d better stop spending so much on advertising, and let some of your help go.”“But business is good son.” The old man defended.“Sure it is now, but you’ll see there’s a recession on and you’d better get ready.” His son replied.The old man considered what he had heard and considered the amount of money he had spent for his son’s education. Finally he decided that perhaps he should cut back and wait for better times. After he stopped advertising, cut some of his help and closed one of his stands his business began to pull back dramatically. In reaction to the downturn he cut advertising even more and tried to run the stand by himself. To make matters worse, one of his old competitors built two new stands in the old man’s territory. Eventually his hot dog business failed. “Lucky I had my son to warn me”, thought the old man, “I guess there was a recession.’”Don’t quit marketing and don’t quite promoting.
  • Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Communications

    1. 1. Are You InvolvedIn Your Marketing Strategy? George Foster, CEO
    2. 2. Old School
    3. 3. Differentiating Marketing Strategy and Marketing Communications• Marketing strategy drives marketing communications• Makes your marketing communications better• Go from service provider to strategic consultant
    4. 4. How Do You Explain Marketing to a 6-Year-Old… Or a Bunch of Marketers?• Asked of Jon Miller, President, Marketo• Answer: “What you do in business when you try to convince people to want and buy what you have to sell.”
    5. 5. Other Blog Posts• “Is it convincing people to buy … or … convincing people to want?”• “My 11-year-old daughter explained that marketing was what happened when people were convinced to buy something that they really didn’t need.”
    6. 6. Riley on Marketing
    7. 7. The Lemonade Stand• Ask 6-year-old, how would you get as many people to drink lemonade as possible?• A bigger sign? No, lowering the price.
    8. 8. What Marketing IS• American Marketing Association (AMA) – Marketing is the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large. Whew!• Merriam Webster – The commercial processes involved in promoting and selling and distributing a product or service.
    9. 9. What Marketing ISN’T• First, it’s not marketing communications.• Second, it’s not sales.• Third, it’s a unique discipline.
    10. 10. The 4 “Ps”• Product (or Service)• Price• Place (Distribution Channel)• Promotion
    11. 11. The Fifth or Sixth “P”• People• Participation (social media)
    12. 12. Why You Should Get Involved In the “P” Process• You are in on the ground floor of new product/service development.• You help shape the strategy on the “Ps”.• It makes your marketing communications better.• It empowers you within the organization.
    13. 13. So, Why Is Understanding Marketing Strategy Important for MarCom?• Product – Know your product or service inside and out. – What are its unique features, advantages and benefits? – How does it compare to the competition? – Connecting with and debriefing sales rep.
    14. 14. So, Why Is Understanding Marketing Strategy Important for MarCom?• Price – How competitively are you priced? – Affects how you market, ultimately selling value
    15. 15. So, Why Is Understanding Marketing Strategy Important for MarCom?• Place – Geographical roll out – How does it affect the promotion – media buy, trade show selection, for example?
    16. 16. Why Understanding Marketing Strategy Is Important for MarCom• Promotion – Developing a creative brief – More than just execution, real “strategery” – Better marketing communications – ads, collateral, event marketing
    17. 17. Why Understanding Marketing Strategy Is Important for Your Career• Consultative role, not just a service provider• Better understanding of product or service offerings• Ultimately, allows MarCom professional to develop better marketing communications.
    18. 18. How to Go From Provider to Key “P” Person• Be interested … ask questions … wander around the plant … read up (competitive literature, annual reports, go online).• Make business development and sales people your best buddies … then debrief them.• Get buy-in from management for your role.
    19. 19. Another Stand Story
    20. 20. Questions?