If you ask 10 people to define marketing, you’ll get 10 different answers. So let’s start with what marketing is NOT: something you cut from the budget when your results are below plan, a creative process, advertising, black magic, a necessary evil….and DEFINITELY NOT making cold calls.
For some reason, marketing has a real mystique. So let’s get rid of the mystique and simplify it. Here’s what marketing is supposed to do.
First, generate as many leads (or as much traffic) as you need to meet your revenue objectives. If we had a nickel for every time someone told us “if only we can get in front of them, we can sell them”… But how do you generate leads so you can “get in front of them”?.
Second, make sure you close as many of those leads as possible. You must guide (EDUCATE) your prospects through a decision making process, and make sure when you finally get in front of them you’re armed with all the answers and tools you’ll need to close them.
Third, leverage you client base to generate more business, either from repeat purchases, up-selling or by getting referrals.
Think of marketing as a machine that’s always working to fill your pipeline, optimize your close rates and drive more business from your existing customers. We call this systemized persistence. The good news is the machine keeps working while you’re doing all the other things you need to do in your business. And you won’t get that dreaded feeling when you’re not spending enough time “prospecting”. The marketing system “prospects” for you.
Building a marketing system is the key to predictable growth, but as a mentor of mine used to say – It’s Simple But Not Easy. So where do we start. How do we build a Marketing System – make marketing a core business function – so it does these things.
The starting point is you must really believe – HAVE FAITH – that marketing is the key to growth. A lot of people say they believe it, but only give it lip service. They say they need to spend more time and money on marketing, but they don’t do it. They tell us they want to focus on marketing, but don’t want to spend money because they’re not sure if they’ll get results. This reluctance and hesitation is all because marketing is so misunderstood, and for many business people it’s a leap of faith.
So here are the choices – keep doing what you’re doing, or get committed to a marketing driven approach. If you’re growing as fast as you want to grow, making as much money as you want to make and are always at full capacity, then I suggest you keep doing what you’re doing. If your business is taking too long to get off the ground, has hit the wall, you have excess capacity, you’re not growing as fast as you want or you’re competing on price, then I suggest you do things differently.
You can build a business one of two ways: Based on luck – “hoping the phone will ring” – or by being in control of your success. If you want to be in control of your success, you must make marketing a core competency.
We’ll explain how to develop a marketing driven approach if you keep reading our newsletters. We’ll give you the knowledge – you just need to provide the faith and commitment.
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