I have come to realise that few business owners want to grow beyond a certain point, so I have stopped saying to them "do marketing for growth". Growth can be a pain, and most entrepreneurs just want to have a good life (including me). Growing for the sake of growing seems "so American". Instead, I have realised there is a much more appealing proposal: do marketing to build a brand.
When marketing blossoms, you have a brand.
Almost every entrepreneur wants to leave a legacy. The business is their art-piece, and they want to know that it will stay behind even if they are long gone. Doing proper marketing is essential in making sure this can happen because marketing establishes the brand in the mind of the customer. This is why it is so important to have a clear brand position running through all the business communication.
The problem, of course, is that brand building takes a long time, and many entrepreneurs are caught off guard when they eventually contemplate a sale or their exit. They suddenly realise in their mid-50s that there is no brand equity in the business, and it is all, still, just about them. They've been the hero all along, and now it counts against them.
Building a brand takes years. Many, many years. Like so much, the real good stuff takes time. The rule applies to everything from money, wine, gardening and marketing. When marketing blossoms, you have a brand. This takes time.
Look at your business today from the outside in, and ask yourself: does it stand out? Does it look good? Does it communicate a strong, unique, powerful message, consistently?
Do you have a brand in the making?