In our hurry to be successful we sometimes forget the importance of preparation and as with the story of the hare and the tortoise, we rush to get things done and often run out of steam before we cross the finish line. As Thomas Edison once said “We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation”.
A tale of two businesses perfectly illustrates why preparation is key to marketing success. Both businesses want to grow and increase their profitability, and both recognise that marketing can help.
Business A thinks marketing is essentially about promotion. They contact a creative design agency who suggests a new website, a glossy brochure and becoming active on social media to spread the message. That sounds good thinks Business A, and goes ahead with this.
Business B knowing very little about marketing, decides to find someone who does. They remember being introduced to a marketing consultant at a recent event who offers an initial free consultation so they have nothing to lose. The marketing consultant asks them if they have detailed answers to the following questions:
What is your market and how does it operate?
Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?
Who are your customers and what are their needs and wants?
What is your product and service offer and how does it meet customer needs and wants?
Why are these important they ask?Because without the right foundations i.e. understanding the dynamics of your market and what customers want and need, it is very difficult to develop the right product offer and build the sort of connection with customers that will lead to sales.
Business B admit they don’t have all the answers to these questions. The marketing consultant helps them to fill in the gaps and create a clear direction and detailed marketing plan to focus on what they need to do to develop their competitive advantage and meet customers’ needs. Business B makes refinements to their product offer and how they sell to customers, highlighting the areas that customers really value. Employees are briefed on the plan and the important role each of them has in delivering on the promise Business B makes to customers. Processes are put in place to maintain their marketing focus, manage external agencies and get the most from their spend. This includes setting targets so Business B can track and measure their progress and take action if they veer off course. This all takes a bit of time but Business B thinks it is worth it in laying the foundations for long-term success.
12 months later and Business A has a new website and brochure (that they think cost twice as much as they were expecting but as they did not set a budget or keep a track of spend they are not sure) and is frantically trying to keep up with the hungry beast that is social media. But despite what they have spent they have seen no real growth in sales or profitability. They are still trying to sell to customers in the same old way with the same old offer and are finding it hard to connect with customers and don't really understand why. They see marketing as a cost and are struggling to see the benefit.
Business B on the other hand has used the all the information that was gathered and analysed to improve their product offer and how it is communicated externally. They have seen significant growth in their sales and profitability and have secured a number of new customers. Morale in the business has increased and having a clear set of messages has made communications quicker, easier and most importantly consistent. They have a content strategy and understand when to connect with customers on their journey to making a buying decision. They see marketing as an investment that helps them grow their business and deliver long-term success.
By George Marketing works with others like Business B to put in place the foundations of great marketing that will deliver growth and be an investment rather than a cost. I make marketing pay.
If you would like to find out more about how I can help your business achieve real growth through marketing, please contact me on +44 (0) 7342 697677 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a discussion.