A few weeks ago I took time out and attended a NABO Strategy Boardroom event. NABO (the Nationwide Alliance of Business Owners) gives members access to some fantastic seminars and business experts, and with this particular event coming right at the start of the year, it felt like the perfect time to focus on my own business and review some of my own marketing strategies for development over the next 12 months.
I really enjoy the opportunity for a bit of healthy reflection and throughout the day I continually re-visited my own thoughts on what makes a business successful. I was amongst delegates whose businesses ranged across many diverse sectors – shirt making, home interiors, accountancy, home care for the elderly, natural health remedies to name but a few – and it was really insightful to hear their views on marketing and the challenges they faced to make their businesses a success.
A successful business comes from successfully marketing
To me it’s quite simple. A successful business is one that gets customers and keeps them. The reality is that nothing happens in business until something actually gets sold. And to do this you have to market your business.
Yet all I kept hearing was that marketing was something they didn’t feel comfortable with, it was an expense and they couldn’t afford to outsource it. So they were essentially stumbling at the first hurdle. Any of the delegates who did show a willingness to outsource to a marketing expert expressed the fear (quite naturally) that they wouldn’t be confident in their choice of marketer, how would they know they’d found the ‘right’ expert?
Some of the business owners were absorbing all the ‘free’ marketing stuff online and attending countless free webinars but they struggled to piece all the disparate bits together. And the most common theme seemed to be that all these different sources gave conflicting advice, which led to confusion and uncertainty of where to even start!
I wasn’t at all surprised, sadly I’ve heard it many times before, the approach of: ‘I’ll muddle along and do it myself’. Yet if I think of all the delegates in that room, I don’t believe I would ever be able to forego their particular skills in preference to my own efforts. If I want a beautifully tailored hand-made shirt, I’ll find a talented shirt maker to produce one for me – my own efforts would look ridiculous. Yes, I could go out and buy a pattern and give it a good go! Naturally I’d know what colour material I wanted, but hand-finished cuffs and buttonholes? I don’t think so. It’s just not my area of expertise. We all have to recognise our limits or where our best intentions might not get the right results or mean that the activity just doesn’t happen as we keep procrastinating and putting off doing something that’s out of our comfort zone. I’ve been there too! Putting off doing my bookkeeping or not reviewing and making decisions about my IT systems because it just isn’t my ‘bag’!!!
So why do people feel that they should do their own marketing?
Because they don’t have the right marketing mindset. All too often I find that marketing is considered a COST rather than an INVESTMENT. And I do understand that, especially in the current economic climate – let’s face it, when there are cuts to be made the marketing budgets are the first to go, even in the biggest organisations. But investing in effective marketing will deliver significant returns on that investment and ultimately ensure the long-term success of your business and make a healthy contribution to your bottom line.
The trick is to do the RIGHT marketing!
And that’s where working with a marketing expert makes all the difference. It enables you to become more focused, to identify what marketing you should be doing to be most effective for your particular business – and make it actually happen. Sounds easy? So easy you could do it yourself? Well, the clue is in the ‘getting it done’ bit. There’s no reason why you can’t come up with a marketing angle (or, in my case, finding that pattern for a shirt that will look fantastic on me), but do you have the time and/or skill to determine how you do it, put it into action and then measure it (come to think of it, I don’t have a sewing machine and my sewing skills extend no further than mending the odd ageing sock!)?
It’s a message that comes across again and again at the events I’ve been attending over the last few months, and it’s coming across loud and clear: it’s all about your business and your marketing mindset.
To see the results that the right marketing mindset can achieve – take a look at this case study with one of my own clients and the results this approach has delivered.
What is the right marketing mindset?
A successful business makes the RIGHT marketing actually HAPPEN! There is an appreciation and understanding of the intrinsic value of marketing to business growth and long-term success. These businesses adopt the right marketing mindset.
It can cost, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. When I work with clients we agree a marketing budget and then I work out how to use that budget to the greatest effect. And the important thing to remember is that marketing channels are evolving and developing all the time – how much cheaper (and more effective and totally measurable) is an email campaign compared to traditional direct mail that requires a huge print run. You can do so much with even a shoestring budget if you know what you’re doing, and that’s why a marketing consultant just makes good business growth sense.
With the right marketing consultant on board (for as long or as little as you need them) you’ll have a strong ally for your business. Don’t look on it as an unnecessary cost: a marketing expert will fulfil a very necessary function, their sole focus is to make your business stronger, bigger, more sustainable in the long term, making sure every single marketing message hits your target audience and has an impact.
And the measure of their success is in your own success.
Have you been ‘muddling through’ or holding out against outsourcing your marketing? It’s not always easy to change your marketing mindset, but it’s definitely worth considering what a change might mean for your business.
Why not get in touch for a chat?