«For us marketing is a complete business process. We do not separate marketing tasks from other tasks facing our team. Detailed understanding of special capabilities of technical solutions by partners-manufacturers; a programme of competitive intelligence; the whole standard tool set for communication with a customer — site, specialised literature, seminars, exhibitions, … — this is marketing. All this in the end makes it possible to efficiently solve technical tasks posed by our customers».
On the one hand, every company has got its own thesaurus. Every company places a special accent on one or the other concept, looking at it in the light of business experience and values.
For one company, marketing is a classic concept of «organizing products manufacturing and sales based on research of market demand in products and services»; for the other — «marketing is a market philosophy, strategy and tactics of thinking and actions by the market participants: not only manufacturers and intermediaries in commercial activities, but consumers and suppliers, practicing economists, scientists, whole organisations up to governmental bodies»; and finally — «the aim of marketing is to make sales efforts unnecessary. The aim is to know and understand a client so well, that a product or service will absolutely suit the latter and will sell on its own».
In the end, it’s not that important who and which way interprets the concept; in the first place, in business a real value of this or other company in the eco system is important. As a tool, marketing could be one of the considerable business components, aiming not only at efficiency improvement of the company itself, but in the first place, marketing has to provide for better efficiency indices of the customer’s working process.
For the sake of analysis let us take a traditional marketing definition — «organizing products manufacturing and sales based on research of market demand in products and services». The higher the company competence, the better understanding of the market, expectations and customer demands, the more expertise the company avails in «product sales», then, obviously, the higher the quality of a solution offered to the customer on a concrete task, to say nothing of possibilities of a frame long-term cooperation.
proActive approach and information platform.
In the context of VSP tasks, we group our marketing activities into the following two blocks — proActive approach and information platform.
proActive approach — business trip activities, participation in exhibitions, running special seminars, frame marketing practice
(for example, ROSNEFT Special customer), special marketing events (for example, presentation of a new product to the market), …
Under the information platform we imply such tools as site, specialised brochures on various company businesses, information bulletins, company social accounts, product technical catalogues in Russian, an on-going advertising campaign both in industry publications, and on-line,…
Taking a closer look at who in the company carries out the functions, we may identify two groups of employees — Sales and Marketing. This is the approach we take — not to separate the work on Sales and Marketing. To our mind, only a united team of specialists on marketing and sales may achieve special results, and in the end, provide the customer with a comprehensive solution at the required level. Joining experience and skills of marketing and sales specialists, we strive to provide customers with a holistic approach, minimizing customers’ resources, both time and finance, related to a process task solution.
With such an approach it is important to keep the team motivated for success, so that all are interested in achieving the result, reaching sales targets. Working on our fourth revision of the Company Bonus system, we have taken the approach that Marketing and Sales specialists should focus at a common aim, and in case of getting to the right level of sales, the company will undertake to pay a relevant bonus to Sales and Marketing specialists.
At the time of continuous information noise, it is also important to give the customer a really useful information; which highly likely will be in demand. To find a balance between the desire to tell as much as possible and highlight what is really important is of principle consideration in a successful strategy of keeping the customer informed. We consider for the customer to get an accurate information material far more important, than to be attacked with spam. At the same time, the information needs to be accurate and verified, especially in terms of the company specialising on such critical solutions as, for example, intrinsically safe interfaces and systems. Mistakes and inaccuracies are unaccеptable.
In our work we try to keep in line with high quality standards. Keeping in mind VSP standards in force and Rules for Information materials preparation in particular.
(1) Fixing clearly (а) the theme, (b) team to execute the task, (c) responsible person and (d) time scale.
(2) Generating idea: specialists’ ideas, manufacturers’ experience, joint expertise, ...
Additional meeting, if required.
(3) Collecting material and preparing project draft.
The notion of «quality material» for visualization implies nominally: Google Search settings: Tools / Size / Large.
Meeting 1: Discussion on the idea and material / project draft.
While discussing the idea and material / project draft the Group may and must consider all and any suggestions, not restricting itself to an adopted and established approach.
(4) Fixing results of discussions - aim, concept, accents, information blocks and initial materials to be included.
(1) Preparing project according to the approved concept.
Meeting 2: Discussion and approval of the project, making comments.
(2) Further work on the project.
(3) Revision of the project by «product line» specialists.
(4) Revision of the project.
(5) Testing / «testing».
(6) The project to be reviewed by the Group.
An additional meeting should it be necessary.
(1) Final project.
(2) Text check (typing errors, grammar, style, ...).
(3) Trial publication and testing / «testing».
(4) Final approval.
(5) Publication / open access.
On resource allocation.
Lacking focus in work, is obviously leading to diminishing efficiency of a practice. With the resources limited (and in fact, any resources have some limitations, be it budget, time etc.) it is particularly important to chose a business line, a concrete product which will be focused on. Of course, a company marketing activities can’t be concentrated on just one subject — a balance needs to be observed.
This is the approach we try to keep with when generating our marketing plans. The team selects a special focus to go for during the year with most of the time and budget to be allocated. As an example, in 2016 the focus was on MTL solutions in terms of Functional Safety Standards. (1) A special brochure «MTL Solutions: Functional Safety Standards» was published early in the year; (2) in April a VSP team took part in the International Oil&Gas exhibition in Moscow with the booth «MTL IS technologies and solutions in terms of Functional Safety Standards» presenting to company customers the latest solutions by the partner-manufacturer; (3) during the year VSP specialists carried out a number of meetings with engineering companies and end-users focusing on compliance of MTL solutions with Functional Safety Standards, SIL3 included; (4) in October the team participated in Oil&Gas exhibition in Perm, the theme of the booth being «MTL IS technologies and solutions in terms of Functional Safety Standards»; (5) closing the cycle, in March 2017 we carried out a specialized seminar «MTL IS technologies and solutions in terms of Functional Safety Standards» in Ufa for industry branch specialists.
Marketing is a dynamic and a constantly changing practice. Without an up-to-date knowledge of the latest trends, technologies in marketing, one cannot rely on a competitive position in the market. A permanent Educational Programme is implemented in the company covering a wide range of all sorts of opportunities open to the company specialists. These opportunities make it possible for VSP employees to get new skills and knowledge.
An integral element of the marketing team operation is no doubt a Programme of Competition Intelligence. Poor knowledge of the market, current and prospective trends, lacking to understand strong points of competitive solutions in fact equal lack of understanding of the future of business.
We focused on the Programme of Competition Intelligence development in 2017. It is a standing relevant practice in the company, and it has already justified its consistency and unconditional importance.
"Marketing for VSP is a complete working process.
From А to Z.
As an example, let us look at organisation of VSP warehouse operation – it is a marketing tool as well.
A customer might vary in his experience of collecting goods from a supplier’s warehouse. We would like our approach at this stage to generate positive future potential for the company too.
A comprehensive approach implies solutions for a wide range of questions — starting with a basic set — site, information materials, exhibitions etc., including programmes for business position development in such a sector as, for example, Power Generation.
We set ourselves new ambitious tasks which call for a lot of effort and expertise, which sometimes we might lack, to work out the most efficient approach…"