The other day one of my clients told me he didn’t want to do any more marketing.
He had too much work.
But is that a wise idea?
Marketing activities need to be consistent and continuous; due to pressures of work they can easily get ignored. It’s when things go quiet that the mistake is realised; and believe me, when things go quiet there goes the cash. It will cost a whole lot more to try and regain new customers; especially if you have neglected the ones you had. Think about it, when is the best time to market your business? While you have cash, or when your reserves, if you have any, are dwindling?
Let’s start with Strategy.
These are decisions we make about our business. What we’re going to do, or not do, where we want to work and how. Whether we are going to be a freelancer, working for ourselves, or build a business that can work without us, an entrepreneur.
Look at it as a rough map of where you want to head.
Basically it is a guess, a hypothesis of what you might like to have happen or the direction you want your business to head, that point in the map. It gets modified as you go along, knowing that there are many ways to get to a destination.
Marketing is the thinking that goes into all the activities we do to promote our products or services. Again it is strategic in the sense that we plan and make decisions: what products, prices, where we promote them and how. Marketing is the how you get to the destination chosen on your strategic map.
With maps though, there can be several routes to your destination – road closures, traffic jams and more. Welcome to business.
Seth Godin’s take on marketing is telling a story. Your story. Then seeking to attract people to you who trust you and want to buy from you.
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing makes a similar point. That it is: getting people to Know, Like and Trust you, so that they buy from you.
Both definitions refer to reaching out to potential customers initially through raising awareness.
And gaining attention through an ongoing, continuous process.
The trust factor comes from creating a preference, over time, to buy from you.
It’s not immediate. Like anything, it takes time to grow.
How you tell your story, through and reach out to your preferred customers or clients is tactical. The promotional or implementation side of your marketing. This might involve setting up a website, using social media, knocking on doors, advertising in newspapers etc.
Let’s come back to my client telling me that he had too much work and wanted to back off on the marketing.
If you allow junk mail into your mailbox you may notice something. Some companies advertise every week, others fortnightly. Others advertise in newspapers or magazine, radio, TV social media etc on a regular basis.
To keep their products at the front of your mind.
They know that you might not be ready to buy something. But they do know that when you are, that they want you to be aware of their products and to choose them. Think about fast food restaurants. Which ones advertise all the time?
Think about fast food restaurants. Which ones advertise all the time?
While my client had plenty of work, and lined up for the next several months, what about several months from now? What if some of the jobs fall through? Maybe there would be projects he would prefer to work on?
The idea of dominating your niche and choosing your customers is about not having to compete on price. It’s about doing the things that you are highly capable of doing and want to work on.
Building awareness is to get known for your expertise, then being hired to work on projects you want to or choose to work on. This is preference.
While my client was busy, there will be future projects he may like to work on, or reject.
Continuous marketing is how you tell your story, build up the trust and attract the clients or customers you want over time, just like the weekly advertisers mentioned above.
Continuity of effort helps attract the attention of potential customers.
The alternative is to try and manage the peaks and troughs that do occur in any business if you have neglected your promotional activities. This is the discrete approach with the peaks and trough outcome.
What do you think? Should you ever stop marketing?