“I haven’t got enough leads.”
Sound familiar? You might have even uttered these infamous words yourself. Why? Because growth has slowed, you’ve hit a brick wall. But leads are not the problem or the solution to long term growth. Solid marketing is.
On paper, growing a business seems easy. Owners and operators think their way along a chain of causes and effects: pour money into a sales drive, acquire more clients or customers, more money comes in, problem solved. On a very basic level, this is sound, and yields a short-term return on investment, but it isn’t efficient or sustainable. The problem is in the classic linear sales funnel model:
At each stage of the sales process, you’re losing clients or customers. Not everyone who’s aware of your brand will be impressed; not everyone who’s impressed will actually look into what you do; not everyone who looks will buy; and not everyone who buys will recommend. Eventually, your business will have reached a certain size but it won’t grow any further, and pouring resources into sales drives will only be a very short term solution. Every sales drive is another bang of your head against the brick wall.
The long term solution is a long term strategy: marketing. Not a long term marketing strategy: marketing is by its very nature a long term plan for continued, sustainable growth, and it is a lot more than mere sales and promotion. The Marketing Centre takes a broader view, which we call the Marketing 360 Healthcheck.
Our key terms in the Marketing 360 are ‘defining’, ‘finding’, ‘winning’ and ‘keeping’. These are the four things your business needs to do with its customer base, with ‘keeping’ being the operative word when we’re talking about growth.
- defining the business’ brand, culture and values so you know exactly what your business is about and what makes you distinct from the competition.
- finding clear, defined, proven routes into the market that let you show your identity and unique values to customers.
- winning those customers through your sales method and team.
- keeping them through a retention strategy that’s all about building loyalty.
Our approach covers not just the strategy for your business, but also the day-to-day implementation and the personnel involved in executing it. Keeping your customers means planning your pricing and promotions around people coming back, developing your products and services so they have a reason to come back, and training you and your management team to think beyond the simple sale.
This covers a lot of ground that most people wouldn’t associate with marketing, but marketing is all about how you make yourself known to customers, how you communicate with them, and how you keep them around.
Plenty to juggle: Marketing involves juggling elements that many may not think of as traditional “marketing”
It’s how you establish yourself as a brand that people have heard of, rather than a company that might be perfectly good at what it does, but is one among many – nondescript, nothing special, and not the first that comes to mind when the need for service arises. A company without a brand is more or less worthless. The only legacy it has to sell or pass on when the time comes is infrastructure, which doesn’t make any money by itself. All of your decisions have to build the brand, which means all your decisions are marketing decisions.
Tear down the wall
Growth is more than just ‘make more money off each sale’. If you want to grow in anything more than fits and starts, you’ll need a thorough and rigorous marketing strategy in place – one which develops your business as a whole and focuses your every decision on growth. Without that, you’ll be banging on the wall forever. That’s why the Marketing Centre exists; we provide the expertise you need to direct your every effort and focus all your energy toward the outside.
By Julie Brook