As our landscape changes mode to Spring and we enjoy the seasonal variability that most have come to love in Tasmania, we can be sure too of variability in the busyness of one business to the next… Maybe you’re amidst a purple patch where you’re so busy, you’re almost wishing you weren’t (not the worst problem to have!), maybe you’ve got sufficient customers to keep just busy enough, or maybe it’s just you and the crickets…
Of course, getting to the point of just you and the crickets is not the ideal time to start thinking about marketing your business. I’m sure you would believe however, this is actually a very common time for businesses to seek help in marketing their business!
Whatever your situation, it doesn’t hurt to be thinking regularly about the best approaches to ensuring your business is an enduring success.
So why think about the role of marketing in your business before it’s quiet?
Well, there are a number of reasons…
If things go the way of the pear, you’re likely to be experiencing higher levels of stress thanks to the scarcity of demand for your product or service. Life in business is hard at the best of times, but there’s no stress quite like things not going to plan when your livelihood is at stake. Naturally, this often means you’ll take a hit to your confidence and might have you operating well below your potential. Performing at your best takes loads of positive energy for most of us, and can also be recharged by the successes of your efforts, a feedback loop which will likely be in deficit when things aren’t so rosy.
In tough times, it’s a lot harder to deal with the idea of spending money to make money. Many businesses will be reluctant to allow any increase in outgoings when their income slows (this is quite a natural reaction!). A better idea is to plan your marketing strategy, and budget for any associated costs. This will allow you to monitor your progress and results to both ensure you’re getting good return on investment, and to give an early indication of the direction things are heading before you get there. However, if things are looking bleak, try to see any potential threat as an opportunity for a fresh look at how you do things.
You’ve had clients for years, why would you act to comply with trends? It’s fantastic that you’ve enjoyed a good client base over time, and this should be congratulated (maybe you’ve got terrific word of mouth marketing). However, as we speed towards the end of 2016, and realise next year it’ll be 10 years since Apple’s iPhone first launched, ask yourself, is it still a wise move to have a sub-par web presence (or none at all!)? How about a mobile responsive website? Don’t let your clients fall out of love with what you offer and how they interact with you, or look with envy at features becoming standard among your competitors, as they won’t necessarily stick around forever.
Building a successful brand that enjoys consistent demand doesn’t happen overnight. Nor does it stay that way once achieved without a considered focus – Coca Cola, being one of the most recognised brands in the world, last year had a total marketing expenditure of US$6.8 billion, or 15.4% of total revenue (SMI). Please rest assured that a marketing plan for a local business won’t cost billions! Articulating your vision, identifying your target market (s), and developing a strategy and plan is the favoured way to grow your brand and business. As nice as it would be if it were true, this won’t happen the day after realising the future looks desperately quiet. We recommend revisiting your strategic business plan regularly (or getting started on one if you don’t have one) to ensure you’re making the most of opportunities and keeping accountable to key goals.
Marketing is best thought about as an ongoing investment, rather than a remedy to be applied when times get tough. Marketing is also most effective when integrated into every aspect of your business, from your business name and logo, to the body language you use when meeting and greeting a new client. Thinking about marketing everyday and in every action you undertake in business will ensure those crickets are eternally drowned out by the cheerful hum of success.