Running a business can be an amazing experience and entrepreneurs often talk about the benefits it offers them. But what we don’t hear about so often is how lonely and overwhelming it can feel to be the one making all the decisions and with responsibility for everything. I used to head up a marketing team and when I started my own business, it came as quite a shock that I could now only delegate things to myself and any decisions to be made were discussed with my committee of one- me!
We can all use a friend to help us and whilst I can’t magic you any actual real life people I would like to introduce you to what could become your best friend in business….. great marketing.
I know, I know you’re probably thinking how on earth can a business discipline like marketing be my best friend, but bear with me and all will become clear.
Now, I use the term ‘great marketing’ for a very specific reason. Because the ‘marketing’ most business do is all about promotion which covers about 20% of what real marketing is. Promotion done on its own, is quite frankly, not going to be any sort of true friend to your business. Great marketing is about everything we do to create and deliver a compelling offer that anticipates and meets customers’ needs and delivers value for both us and our customer.
So now we understand great marketing is about so much more than promotion, let’s get to the 8 reasons why it could be our best friend in business.
Reason 1 It opens our eyes to what’s going on around us.
Great marketing gets us looking at the business environment we work in and understand the things we can’t control but can mitigate the effects of (such as changes in legislation and new competitors entering the market) and the things we can control such as our offer and market opportunities we’ve identified that we can benefit from. By knowing all this we can be much more proactive about growing our business.
Reason 2 It helps us really understand our customers and what makes them tick
We need customers to generate a revenue but to create a successful business and grow we need happy customers that value what we offer and will pay for this. We often make assumptions about what our customers are interested in and think we know what makes them buy from us. People buy solutions to a problem or a need. Great marketing focuses us on really understanding what these problems or needs are in detail and then focuses us on giving them the solution to these
Reason 3 It helps us take an honest look at our own business and how we meet customer needs at the moment.
A key part of great marketing is analysing our current performance and, just like a friend, holding a mirror up to how well we do things and what we need to improve on. It helps show us whether we’re meeting customer needs and how we compare with the competition.
Reason 4 It gives us a focus and direction
We all spend a lot of time working IN our business and not enough time working ON it. Great marketing focuses us on what we need to grow our business. So when we get lost in the doing, as we all are prone to sometimes, having a clear marketing plan which gives us a direction and way to do things, brings our focus back to what’s important to delivering success.
Reason 5 It helps us spend our money wisely
So many businesses waste time and money on promotion activities that have no real purpose and are not targeted enough to deliver a genuine impact on business growth. Because great marketing is about analysis and then planning with clear objectives, it helps us to be clear on where we need to deploy our spend and resources to deliver those objectives. This means promotion is considered as part of the overall offer we’re delivering and not as an isolated activity without a clear goal or deliverable. In other words, it becomes an investment rather than a cost.
Reason 6 It helps us plan and save time by not reinventing the wheel.
A really important aspect of great marketing is the fact that it demands we plan and do this based on a comprehensive analysis of our business and the environment we operate in. By being proactive and preparing more, we end up doing less fire fighting and make fewer knee-jerk decisions. We have proper processes and systems in place to deliver our compelling offer and don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel every time we do something, as though we’re doing it again for the first time.
Reason 7 It shows us when we veer off course and gets us back on track
As well as analysis and planning, great marketing relies on measurement and review of our actions to see they’re moving us closer towards our marketing vision and the delivery of our strategy. By explicitly tracking and measuring our performance in areas like number of new customer leads, customer satisfaction levels, cost per lead etc, we can identify if we veer off course and take corrective actions to get us back on track. We also know when things are going particularly well and can then plan in more of the actions that delivered this.
Reason 8 It shows us how to put the pieces of the offer jigsaw together
There’s a lot to creating a compelling offer and great marketing focuses us on the different elements of the marketing mix (product, place, price, promotion, processes and people) that enable us to deliver this. These separate pieces of the jigsaw need to work together to deliver the best offer and value for the customer. So, for example, the product and what it offers, will affect the price and type of promotion that’s needed and also how it reaches the customer. This is another reason why only looking at promotion in isolation is a waste of time and money.
Aside from all of the positive business benefits, like a good friend, marketing can also help build our confidence and belief in what we can achieve with our business. In giving us a direction and a plan to achieve success it ‘has our back’ so to speak.
Don’t get me wrong, we still need real people to share our highs and lows and to support us on our business journey. But if we embrace great marketing and embed it in our business, it will become our best friend and repay us with growth and our own success story.
Ceri George has over 15 years marketing experience and is the owner of By George Marketing and founder of Marketing know-how for the busy woman. She helps women grow their businesses and feel more in control by showing them how to implement great marketing. For more information please visit www.bygeorgemarketing.co.uk
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