I’ve had a lot of interesting discussions over the past nearly 20 years of being at the helm of CommuniTech. But I think my favorite is, “We tried marketing and it didn’t have any impact on our bottom line. We don’t need marketing.”
My response? Take off your marketing beer-goggles and stop treating it like a one-night stand!
Marketing is a long-term commitment. You need to love it, nurture it, pander to it and think constantly about it. Buy it flowers and send it chocolates. But never quit it.
Marketing is an investment that requires time and energy. Not many business leaders have either to spare. And it always shocks me how so many people can readily convince themselves that they don’t need to market their businesses. The reasons are many:
- “We have a sales team, that’s enough.” But imagine how much more effective your sales team would be with a little marketing help!
- “We spend about $60K in trade shows and it works.” Really? Have you ever considered that $60k invested in another activity might work better?
- “No time.” You’re already spending time marketing, you just don’t realize it. Plus, you may be spinning your wheels in not doing the right things.
- “Can’t afford it” – You can’t afford not to!
- “We tried it for a year; it didn’t change anything.” Marketing takes time – sometimes years – to be effective, depending on your goals. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither is marketing.
Well, it’s time to realize the cost of NOT marketing your business – there are both direct and indirect costs associated with this. First are the obvious sales lost to your competition. They were found on the top of a Google search, you weren’t. Guess who is going to get a call? One of their existing clients forwarded an invitation to a webcast they received from, guess who? Not you.
The bummer for you is that you didn’t know you lost these sales because you didn’t even know about the opportunity. Trust me, folks – ignorance is not bliss. You will start to see a decline in sales, and ultimately, business growth. The problem is that both are tough to quantify. You can track sales that were lost if you were in the running (if you actually delivered a proposal). But if you didn’t, then how do you even know that there was a missed opportunity? By not marketing, you’re keeping your business out of the running altogether. You don’t know what you don’t know.
The more indirect cost of not marketing is the loss of brand awareness. For those in “professional services” (consultants, coaches, lawyers, health care, accountants, dentists, etc.), if you’re not marketing to your existing clients, you’re losing two HUGE opportunities. First, these clients are easy targets for your competition. If they don’t feel the love from you, but are getting all kinds of attention from the other guys, they’ll eventually think, “Hmmmm, why not check them out?”
Second, your existing clients are some of your best sources of marketing. Who better to sing your praises to friends and colleagues than a happy customer? They could share a white paper, article or a link to your blog, or simply tell them how much you rock. (And remember, it costs a lot more to market to a new client than to maintain a relationship with an existing one.)
So don’t fall into the trap of thinking you don’t need marketing. Yeah, maybe you don’t want to spend the money it takes. I get that. But stop thinking of marketing as a cost center and start thinking of it as a profit center. Marketing can be measured, tracked and tied back to your bottom line. It may not happen overnight, but no truly good investment ever does. The best investments pay dividends for the long-haul.
Marketing is not a one-night stand. It’s a happy relationship, and like all good relationships, the rewards are well worth the effort and will make the journey through the next stage of your business that much more successful. And remember – when you decide to do it right, you’ll never again have to take that dreaded ‘marketing walk of shame.’ Trust me on this one.