Do you fear marketing?
Has it not worked for you? Have you ever 'planned' to be successful with your marketing?
In my many years as a business coach, I regularly come across businesses that don't have a marketing plan or strategy, or even, a small predefined annual budgetary spend for marketing. It is ubiquitous for companies to look at marketing as a cost rather than an investment. Business owners have a conscious understanding that marketing should be considered an asset. They get the aspect of reputation building and creating an emotional attachment to their brand. They also recognise they have been marketed too and become a willing purchaser of brands who have sold their wares proactively. However, they haven't necessarily had that experience of marketing being an investment where their businesses are concerned. Why?
Let me explain!
Seeing marketing as purely a cost is somewhat alien to me. I suspect those that do see it as a cost are representative of a risk-averse attitude. When the business leader does embark on any form of proactive marketing, far too much dabbling and a lack of planning and longevity eventually lead to a business leader mistrusting the process. Indeed, many mistakes and attitudes demonstrate reasons for marketing failure:
- The obvious one, they haven't been speaking to the right people to get good advice.
- The business has never committed to a consistent level of marketing. Without commitment and consistency, marketing rarely works.
- Bad experiences, choosing the wrong direction with little or no pre-planning
- Have never even considered writing any form of marketing strategy or plan, they think that just placing one sporadic advertisement on social media or in a publication is marketing.
- They have that terminal fear of marketing because they don't understand the process, and when they have dabbled, the results are underwhelming.
- Look at one medium or one route only, never considering an integrated approach, thinking this is all the marketing activity they need to adopt,
- have solely relied on the activities of field sales, door-to-door and telesales, never once considering the importance of building reputation and brand.
‘In my experience, all of the above reasons are relevant. Still, in the main, a lack of marketing activity comes down to fear of the unknown, little or no planning, lack of consistency and commitment accompanied with a few bad experiences where so-called expert advice is concerned.’
Adopting the right attitude to marketing
Typically, there is a lack of understanding with marketing defined as only a sales support initiative, rather than a brand and reputation building process. The latter being a much more powerful long-term benefit to a business. Of course, every business owner wants their marketing to be an instant breadwinner, turning the activity into leads, but the process of marketing is sadly confused with that alone. As someone once said to me, ‘the analysts and technical guys influenced the marketing process at the start of the digital age because they developed the new technology. For a period, delivery of poor creativity unfortunately prevailed, and the desire to influence, create advocates and build a brand was forgotten. It was an important part of the marketing process around emotional attachment the technical guys couldn’t understand. How do you write an algorithm for that? Now today, it has been turned on its head. The marketers and creatives are back in control, and they dictate what the technology should look like and deliver.’
Lead by brand, generate more
Mediums like Google Ads and other direct marketing activities are your typical lead generation or product selling activities and could form part of your marketing mix. Although they use marketing as a process to generate leads, they are ONLY PART of the marketing process. For large businesses or those that have established reputable brands, this activity is critical but much more critical in the context they have built that brand. They will sell more and gain more significant market share if a strong brand backs their activity. That is 100% guaranteed.
The small business mentality is only to adopt the former, and completely miss the fact that the most crucial aspect of their marketing is to build a reputation. The best analogy I can give to this is; "a business that has built a strong brand doesn't have to apply to get on the tender list, they are included in those tenders automatically." What version of that business type scenario would you want to be?
‘The most successful businesses are those that have built the desire, trust and reputation through focusing on the values of their brand. Brand advocacy influences more significant numbers.’
Example: Apple has become the largest technology company on the planet because of their incredible focus on branding. Their attention to detail and meticulous focus on building the emotional attachment to every tiny detail of what Apple means to the consumer is world-leading. Indeed, when Apple releases a new iPhone, Tablet or Computer, the consumer queues for hours and hours to become the early adopters. They want to be first. Company’s like Apple understand the importance of brand building above all else. Their lead generation is purely an arty and creative tease, nurturing the consumer into a frenzied desire to purchase. From therein, every launch of a new product will return £millions in sales. It is a model they perfected decades ago and continues to work today.
Would you like just a small percentage of Apple’s brand desire?
“Oh, but I am just a small business in a competitive market, how can I even compare my business to Apple?”
Please don’t be fooled by your first thoughts! Every market sector has a more prominent and more successful competitor. Every market sector has companies that have better websites than their competitors. Every market sector has examples of business that have focused on their brand more than their competitors. They have valued the building of their reputation through marketing asset and activity above all else. They are the larger, more desirable, trusted and more communicative businesses. They get more leads and a much greater percentage return from their marketing activity.
Focus your marketing on branding and where building advocacy and reputation is concerned; mediocrity isn’t an option.