By Mark Combs, Cre8iveDept.com
In spite of all your marketing efforts, it seems your labor has been in vain. You have tried new mediums, messages, even new target groups, but nothing has produced the results you wanted. You have looked at the numbers and there just isn't any ROI to be seen. I can see you are on the verge of abandoning the notion of marketing your small business. There might be one more place you need to look. Maybe you need to look in the mirror. As hard as it is to hear, you could be sabotaging your own marketing. Read the common culprits below and see if you find a bit of your self there.
1. You believe creative is more important than measurement.
I am guilty of this, Big Time. I am a creative. I love generating new ideas and new concepts. But I have learned is, as important as it is to have great creative in your marketing, measuring results, accountability for ad costs, and gauging ROI just as important. You could hire the premiere creative team on the planet, but without measuring the results, how would you know if your marketing is effective? You wouldn't. Don't forget to measure!
2. You think branding equals your slogan.
People like slogans. The good ones stick in our brains. Many entrepreneurs mistake their own slogan as their brand. Your brand is the feeling or experience they receive when they encounter your company. It starts the first time they see you logo through to the last time they make a purchase. That is your brand. Graphics and advertising embellish your brand, but it lives in the minds of your customers.
3. Your website doesn't work.
This shouldn't need any explanation. Your website can be your greatest asset or your biggest liability. If your website doesn't work, take the time and allot the funds to get it working. While you are at it fortify it so it will support your brand and engage your audience. It will be well worth the effort, I promise.
4. You don't have a marketing plan.
I get it. You don't have to hide it any more. You don't have a marketing plan, and if you did, you wouldn't know what to do with it. You can have tons of good ideas for marketing your company, you could have a great creative staff and the means to measure your efforts, but if you don't set forth a plan that defines a direction, you will spin your wheels for months even years. A marketing plan when well executed can streamline processes, weed out misfit marketing ventures, and thwart fast talking ad salesmen. Your marketing plan is your companies crystal ball, you might want to get one.
5. You think people don't matter.
I said this today, "If it weren't for customers, I'd love my job" I really didn't mean it, I enjoy working for the majority of my clients. But no matter who you are, people sometimes rub us the wrong way. People are our business. Period. We need people. Internally or as clients, customers, or vendors, we need people. What have you done to show them they matter? Do you listen to your people? Do you generate surveys? Assemble focus groups? Get feedback online? Ask for comments? Take a minute and show a customer and an employee that they matter to you.
6. You believe marketing collateral is a waste of money.
Many people think that one post card is enough for a product launch. That should do it. Now they know about my new widget the phone should start ringing any minute now. Before you launch a new campaign make sure your website, your email signature, your business cards, your advertising and your publications share the same look and feel and support the same message. That unity will multiply your investment and your ROI.
7. You think consistency doesn't matter.
Strong brand consistency helps your customers trust you more. It gives them the sense that you are stable and will be around for some time. Changing logos or color schemes should be made with great care. A consistent level of graphic quality and writing can strengthen your image with your customers and help them believe your product or service is worth more than you are charging.
8. You believe marketing is expensive.
You are almost right. The truer statement is, "Ineffective marketing is expensive". If your marketing is bringing in more money than it costs, there is nothing expensive nothing expensive about it. Marketing, when done right, should be a profit center not a cost center. Not marketing is where it can get expensive in all the untapped potential and unsold products left on the shelves. Why do you think CocaCola spends the enormous budgets on marketing their products? Is it because it costs them money? Doubtful. I'll bet its because they make money doing it.
There are plenty of saboteurs in marketing, we don't need to add to the problems. If you need help creating a targeted, effective marketing message send us an email at MarkCombs@Cre8iveDept.com we be glad to help you through it.