POSTED ON 29th April 2014
Marketing isn’t something to invest in just when sales are down. Whatever size or stage your business is at, a good marketing plan is critical, even if business is booming.
Reasons why businesses neglect marketing
- Why bother with marketing when their business is growing well?
- Marketing is just advertising that’s difficult to measure.
- They are overwhelmed by all the marketing tactics and options available.
- They don’t have the skills themselves or a strong enough understanding of marketing to provide direction to an employee.
- They can’t afford to hire the person they need with the appropriate level of skills.
Many of our clients at Marketing Angels have grown their business from great service and word of mouth, but turn to us when growth eventually stalls or when competitors come into their market with a strong consolidated marketing approach.
If they’ve never had a marketing plan and consistent marketing activity, they quickly find themselves on the back foot and rushing to keep up.
Here are reasons why you need to be marketing even if business is booming
- Marketing builds better customer awareness and brand recognition. Without it, people will have no way of knowing your product or service unless they are referred by someone who is already working with you. You cannot rely merely on word of the mouth in a competitive marketplace for sustained growth. Eventually all the people who know about you would have bought from you. To ensure that your growth does not plateau or stop completely should your market change, you need consistent marketing activity.
- You’ll have a good grasp on your target market. The process of developing a plan helps the business decide on their ideal target, the product mix, marketing messages and activities that are most likely to appeal to them. Without a good understanding of your target market, marketing activities can be poorly targeted and ultimately attract the wrong types of customers.
- It increases sales and profits.With a marketing strategy focussed on delivering a return on investment, you set clear objectives regarding your revenue, expenses, profit, prospects and number of new sales. Without a strategy that outlines these objectives, marketing can be ultimately ineffective.
- It cultivates trust and nurtures loyalty. Trust is a key driver for your customers. They are more likely to buy from someone they know and trust. It takes time and consistency to achieve this, but the end result is worth it. Consistent communications to potential customers builds trust and makes you the brand of choice when they are ready to buy.
- It makes you a viable competitor. By implementing good marketing strategies, you are sending the message to businesses similar to yours that you are serious about what you are doing and has you included in a buyers consideration set when they are ready to buy.
Signs you’ve neglected marketing in your business
You don’t have a steady stream of solid leads.
You are not converting leads into sales at the same rate that you used to
You have poor client retention
You are getting less referrals from clients
You’re losing sales to competitors
Without marketing, your efforts to attract customers are likely to be untargetted and inefficient. Don’t wait until things are bad in your business before you take action.
How to make marketing happen
Get your team together.
Arrange some focussed time with key team members to workshop a plan. Your workshop should:
- Identify your objectives
- Define your target market – their characteristics and key messages to motivate them
- Define what your brand stands for, what you want people to think and feel within they see your brand
- What key marketing tactics you will focus on
- How you will measure and resource marketing
Ideally your workshop needs to be facilitated by someone skilled in marketing principles with a good understanding of marketing tactics available and their effectiveness.
Build your marketing plan.
Have the outcomes from your workshop developed into a detailed marketing plan. Your plan should outline key objectives, overall strategy, key marketing tactics, costs and suggested budget for the tactics as well as an activity calendar.
Decide who will “own” marketing in your business and who will do the work
You may hire a marketing director, give marketing responsibility to a team member or outsource marketing to experts. Either way someone needs to have accountability and full responsibility for marketing.
Have a process for review
Marketing is most effective when it’s constantly managed, measured and optimised. You need to hold marketing work in progress meetings to ensure consistent implementation, monitoring of results and optimisation of campaigns for return on investment.
Time is of the essence when you’re running a business. You don’t know how much market share you’re losing by putting your marketing efforts on hold or continuing to do nothing.
Contact us for free expert advice on how to make marketing happen in your business.