Often, companies regard marketing strategy rather like medicine, something to be taken when things aren’t going well. If sales are missing budget, invest in some marketing and watch the leads come flooding in. Oh, if only it were like that.
This kind of misguided thinking is one of the reasons so many otherwise successful businesses end up failing. They get comfortable feeling busy…until they suddenly realise their sales have dropped off a cliff. By then, it’s too late and they have to play catch-up with their competitors.
Marketing is like food. It’s the regular, sustained nourishment that is best for your business. It gets you where you want it – and keeps it there.
While some businesses wait until they’re starving before they start looking for sustenance, savvy enterprises invest consistently, keeping them strong and thriving year after year.
Successful companies never stop marketing.
If you talked to customers and prospects who have heard about your business, you’d probably find that their concept of who you are and the services you offer is out of kilter by at least a year or two.
Your company’s offering is constantly evolving yet, unless you repeatedly update them, people’s perceptions tend to remain fixed. With every year that passes they become more and more out of touch with who you are and what you do. Then one day, hardly any of your prospects and customers will actually understand how your business has changed.
It takes years to shape and define your brand, so you need to be doing it consistently. If you wait until times are tough, it will be a difficult and expensive task convincing people you’ve changed.
The single most important reason for engaging in active, ongoing marketing is simply that it secures your company’s future. Marketing creates business. You may have lots going on right now, but will it still be there in six months? A year? Five years?
Having ‘just enough’ business is a risky strategy. If you’re actively marketing, there will always be more demand for your offering than you can actually meet. This gives you the option to pick and choose your customers, to focus on the most profitable ones and to have a waiting list ready for when times get slower.
If your competitors have a more visible profile in the trade media, they are investing in marketing in to keep their brands at the forefront of prospects minds. In the event of a downturn, it’s not hard to guess who will be better placed to attract what little business is out there.
If the market falls or crashes as it did in 2007/8, your company could find itself playing catch-up with your competitors as you attempt to re-build your reputation.
As your business evolves, it will probably need to target different audiences. Sometimes your focus changes only slightly, whilst at other times you have to start with a completely new customer base.
Either way, you need to be constantly evaluating your target audience and adjusting your marketing strategy, brand messages and campaigns accordingly.
Your corporate identity reflects the values of your brand; if it is looking tired or dated it will not accurately communicate your brand values. Now is the time to invest in bringing your corporate identity into the 21st Century to give the business a confident, successful appearance that will comfort existing clients and, more importantly, help attract new customers.
It is impossible to see into the future and whilst you might not have an exit strategy in mind for the near future, circumstances change. It is better, therefore, to be fully prepared so you can maximise the benefits should an unexpected opportunity arise.
There is a great deal to be said for being primed and ready when it comes to the sale of a business; it needs to be in the condition that will deliver the very best return. The last thing you want to have to do is to invest significant sums of money just prior to sale when you are looking to build up reserves to boost the value of the company.
Savvy business owners don’t leave their future up to chance; they’re planting seeds now that they can harvest in the coming seasons.
If you’d like to discuss your marketing strategy for 2017, give Alan Myers a call at Leapfrog on 0116 278 7788 or email: email@example.com