No One Gives A Damn About Your Business. Unless You Give em A Reason To
The good news is that there are thousands of people looking for what you offer. The bad news is that those people are extremely tough to attract not to mention that your very livelihood depends on it. It's a scary thought when you think about it. And many don't. Some are simply ignorant to the marketing realities. For others the expense and complexity associated with any kind of formal marketing effort is simply too intimidating. They rely souly on word-of-mouth. The fact is, word-of-mouth is great, fabulous, wonderful and not enough if you're serious about growing your business.
Do You Believe in Marketing?
Do you see marketing as a necessary investment or a questionable expense? It's an important question because if you don't truly believe in the power of smart marketing you'll sabotage anything you try...like driving with the brake on. Marketing done well is an investment and there's no better investment than your business.
Determine your Objective and Budget.
Like any investment it involves planning and patience. You start by establishing a realistic objective and then determine what it takes to achieve it. That takes the analysis of several factors such as:
o the industry you're in
o the maturity of your business.
o the specific product or service being offered.
o the target audience.
o the competitive environment.
So, what does it all cost? Again, it depends on what your short and long term goals are. For some, 5% of annual sales may be plenty to invest. For others 10% may not be enough. Once you determine your goal it's easier to determine the budget you need to achieve it.
Good vs. Great vs. Do-It-Yourself.
"Good" marketing isn't good enough. "Good" marketing, which is most of what you see, does only half the job. It informs people but doesn't touch them emotionally. And if you don't touch them emotionally they won't buy your product. It doesn't matter if you have the best product or service in the world if you're not getting your prospects excited enough to act.
Some business owners decide to take on the marketing challenge themselves. A few even treat it as child's play. One potential client actually asked me my opinion of something his 10-year old came up with. Needless to say we weren't a good fit. Most business owners realize they aren't marketing experts. The problem is they just aren't sure who is. A common mistake is the assumption that the people who do a logo or brochure can also create a great ad or effective marketing effort. I was once asked about a campaign created by a company's design firm. Not surprisingly the campaign was totally void of a selling idea. Yet the client was clearly sold on it. When I asked the client what exactly he liked about the campaign he enthusiastically replied, "The green -- it's a real attention grabber!" The design firm may not have done a very good advertising job, but clearly they did an exceptional sales job. It's just a shame the client invested $800,000 in it.
A direct response mechanism (ie. phone number, web address, etc) is one way to track response. Of course, sales increase is usually the ultimate barometer. And when you combine a great product with a great marketing effort the effect can be obvious. For our client Sorrell Ridge Fruit Spread sales jumped 90% a month after the campaign broke. Though that was exceptional most clients can tell after a few months if the marketing effort is working.
Get a Buzz.
Buzz is another way to measure effectiveness. Are people noticing you and talking about you? Our client Marble Church knows about that. The attention-getting campaign got the attention of both local New Yorkers and national press. And with a limited marketing budget church membership increased 31% while web site traffic quadrupled. The campaign, which started out as an experiment, is now in its sixth year.
So, despite the perceived expense and complexity of marketing you must appreciate the need and value of it. Done right it's the best way to make a lot of people give a damn about your business.
© 2005 John Follis. All rights reserved.
For John's booklet: "How to Attract and Excite Your Prospects: A Guide for Getting the Best Marketing Results", visit: http://www.follisinc.com/booklet.htm
John Follis is one of the 12 "Best Advertising Minds of New York" as voted by The New York Ad Club. His campaigns are in 3 college textbooks, he has written for ADWEEK, and he has taught at 3 New York universities. Currently, John works on select projects, consults, and speaks. John may be reached at: email@example.com
For consulting info, visit: Marketing Therapy: http://www.follisinc.com/therapy.htm
For speaking info, visit: Follis Speaking: http://www.follisinc.com/speaking.htm
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