Why Your Small Business Marketing Keeps Failing.
…and what you can do to fix it, immediately.
Marketing is the collective set of all activities that you can run, in order to accomplish THREE very specific goals:
1. Build your brand;
2. Find new customers; and
3. Keep selling to existing customers
Most businesses (heck ALL organizations, for that matter) tell what they do and how they do it. Their messaging is so UNINSPIRING (yawn!) that it completely fails to tell a story of WHY you do what you do, why you’re special and how you’re better than everyone else.
Once you begin telling stories about WHY you and your organization do what you do, then you’ll be more likely to connect with your customers and prospects in a more compelling manner.
If a tree falls in the forest…
Most small businesses never ask themselves “Where are our best customers when they are most likely to be receptive to our marketing messages?”
This consideration of where to place your marketing dollars so they have maximum impact is referred to as your media placement strategy, and it demands that you have an absolutely complete and clear view of who your ideal customer is and learn as much as you can about them. The average American is bombarded with between 7,000 and 9,000 messages a day. Are they really listening to you when you try to speak to them? At Time Warner Cable, I introduced the company to elevator advertising through the service provider Captivate, ran regional advertising in a number of local area Minor League baseball teams and translated our website into Spanish because those were the MOST effective ways to reach small business owners in the New York Metro area.
Do you develop your marketing in conjunction with your sales efforts, and include your product development folks in your marketing strategy?
Another great failure of nearly all businesses that retain my services is the unwillingness to develop their marketing with their sales efforts and product development. You need to have a clear plan of what products and services you want to promote aggressively, those that are so established in their sales life cycles they require little support, and those you want/need to retire (sunset) through an end-of-life market exit strategy.
Can you calculate an ROI on every dollar of marketing you spend? You should have a campaign code on all print advertisements you run, and for every call to action a special 800-number if you ask people to call in response to your marketing. Tools like PhoneKey.com (thanks Mark at Roos) allow your customer service reps to be able to identify the source of all inbound calls that you receive in response to your campaigns.
Every Event is a 3-staged Process.
Each event you commit to is a marketing campaign in and of itself! Every event, trade show, conference, or client road show MUST be conducted as its own stand-alone 3-phased campaign. Every event is actually comprised of a pre-event, the event itself, and the post-event. Each of these 3 stages has a collective set of actions required for the ENTIRE event to be a success. Define measurable goals for each program, and conduct the event start to finish so you achieve a return on the event’s total cost commitment whether it’s obtaining newly qualified leads, engaging existing customers, promoting the launch of a new product or service, etc.
Invest in your marketing like you REALLY care about it.
Many organizations I speak to invest no more than 1-2% of their annual sales in their marketing budget. That’s a pathetically low level of marketing commitment, since marketing is the sum total of all programs and campaigns required to support sales. World-class organizations like Disney, Startbucks, Zappos invest between 5-15% of their budgeted annual sales on marketing. Now THAT is an investment!
When you develop your annual marketing plan you need to first talk strategy with your sales people to know what challenges they face, and their sales goals for the year then build out your marketing to support those key objectives.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach