I was in a meeting this week with an owner who was clearly frustrated with the marketing results he had seen over the years. He was at wit's end with all the "e-marketers" that has been through his door, none able to help him grow his business. From my experience working with entrepreneurs, many share this frustration.
Yet, despite its poor track record, successful marketing remains an ideal that many entrepreneurs are hoping for as they try and grow their companies. They tend to give up on marketers, but not on marketing. Fundamentally, there is an understanding that surely a pure sales based approach cannot be the only way.
A sales only approach is inefficient. Hours on the phone trying to secure meetings. More hours on the road driving to meetings, waiting in reception areas, often just to be told to come back later. And once you get into the meeting, there is the inevitable fight over price with margins disappearing quickly.
A sales-based approach is fundamentally inefficient. There must be a better way; maybe it's called marketing...But how to make marketing work in a business? Here are three things I am convinced of:
- You can't bring marketing into your business willy nilly and "quick, quick" and cross fingers that it works. It requires a major shift in how you structure your business development activities,
- Achieving results requires a strategy before you start with the inevitable activities. There is a well-established roadmap for developing a marketing strategy that most businesses don't take, yet they complain they don't win,
- Half-hearted marketing doesn't work. You need to commit to an "investment" to see results. It happens over the long term, needs proper funding and careful management.
Strategy first. That's how marketing works.