Do services have a formal marketing strategy?
What is a marketing strategy? To take a simple definition from Investopedia “A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements. A thorough marketing strategy covers ” the four P’s” of marketing—product, price, place, and promotion”. This definition would need some adaptation to a parliamentary research service environment, but considered broadly on those terms, no service reported that they had a marketing strategy.
It is quite likely that services have forms of marketing objectives and measures in their plans and toolkits but do not yet see them as ‘marketing’.
There should, nevertheless, be concern that services have an interest in ‘raising their profile’, or at least taking steps to ensure that Members are aware of them and use them – and they seem to have no defined strategy to achieve this. The absence of strategy does not necessarily mean inaction but it may mean that there is no measure of success. How much effort is justified, what are the exact goals, how do we know if we are effective?
Most services responded with a simple negative or no answer. Hungary described a process of marketing planning for new parliaments; one service described a continuous cyclical process of product promotion, review and revision/innovation; the service in Pakistan relies on its products/services to market themselves by quality/relevance; and New Zealand reported that they were working on a marketing strategy – it would be interesting to hear more about it.
“We do not have general strategy, but before the beginning of a new parliamentary term we always build a particular strategy. We will have elections in spring 2022 and we are already working in promotion: – We are already working on our special publication (Infoscope). – We are planning to launch a new product-line: statistical dashboard on the intra- and internet with interactive infographics and already working on the concept, ordered the software and train the staff (a small group first). – We are planning a leaflet for sure, as we left out in 2018 and missed it later on. – Recently we have finished the survey among MPs and the further promotion strategy is depend on the results (e.g. use of social media, topics of the first interactive infographics on the dashboard). The details of the promotion is going to be elaborated by a working group in January.”
Pakistan – ‘Our Work is Our Marketing’
Anonymised response –
“Four phases seen as an endless circle: 1. Promotion; 2. Monitoring; 3. ‘Feed in’; 4. ‘Products and services’ adaptation; 1. Promotion; 2. Monitoring; and so on… At 3: systematic reporting on client usage; trends in use and in feedback; improved or new ways to support Members’ needs; gathering intelligence on lesser used services; new/improved or tailored client trainings; identifying opportunities for product placement at Member and Group (online) events; feed-back-in references to our products for staff awareness. At 4: Developing new or improved products and services; evaluating the existing range of products and services in view of their relevance for clients and recommend appropriate actions (align priorities, adapt or abolish products)”