Saturday, 24 August 2019

Is your marketing stuck?

Many owner-managed companies are suffering from marketing indigestion. There's simply nothing happening, or whatever happens moves through the system "slowly and painfully". The marketing is stuck. The website does not get updated, the brochure remains out of date, posting to social media is infrequent, and conference attendance happens occasionally. Yet, the business owner wants to see more happening.

What's going on here? What's the reason for the stagnation?

The problem is that marketing invariably involves communication, i.e. telling the world a story about your business and this means a) agreeing on what the story is, b) deciding how to say it, and c) doing so in a way that achieves results. This process is exceedingly difficult for most small and medium-sized companies. 

It is difficult because it is daunting. What do you say in a world where there are many more prominent players shouting much louder than you and where the wrong message can harm, rather than help. How do you do marketing in a landscape that is messy and evolving? How do you make sensible investments and allocate time between marketing and operations? How do you get agreement within the business on what to say? No wonder so small and medium-sized companies experience marketing indigestion.

What do you say in a world where there are many more prominent players shouting much louder than you and where the wrong message can harm, rather than help.

But the biggest challenge tends to be that small companies have passionate owners still walking the floor, and to them, everything is - understandably - personal. Any marketing that gets done feels like a direct reflection of them, and this can often slow things down. I find the trick is to take things a little less seriously and, instead of aiming for perfection, start experimenting to achieve the ideal - eventually. Patience and experimentation. 

Marketing is a social science. As a business, you need to try stuff, and see if it sticks with your prospective customers. You can't do marketing without trying things in the real world.

Marketing success = Do stuff and learn as you go

The way to make Marketing move in your business is to get moving. The best laxative is the action itself. Get going! Start marketing your business.