I was having a chat to a fellow business owner the other day, and I heard something I’ve sadly heard before. He’d worked with a marketing company for about 9 months and could not attribute any business to the work they’d done.
Putting aside the fact that it is often tricky to directly attribute individual sales to a particular marketing activity (that will need to be the subject of another blog!), it does raise a good point and that is that marketing is a risk. When you undertake marketing activities, you cannot know exactly what return you are going to get from them.
Reducing the risk
While any marketing activity is a risk, the work done in the background beforehand is what determines whether it is a risk that is likely to succeed or not. A few things to consider:
- Have you or the company you work with clearly defined your target audience and is the activity aimed at them? The definition of your target audience and the development of your positioning (see below) will probably have involved some kind of customer research, so if there hasn’t been any then this is a bit of a red flag.
- Have you got a clearly defined positioning for your business and is your messaging consistent with this? Your positioning provides the ‘Why’ for potential customers when considering a purchase.
- It may seem obvious but are your target audience actually likely to be exposed to the marketing activity. I know I get many, many calls from media/exhibition providers trying to persuade me to get my clients to advertise with them – often with little consideration of the target market. So I can see how it would be easy for companies to end up doing activity which is not properly targeted.
- Is it clear what action you want people to take following exposure to the marketing activity and are you making that easy for people?
- What are you wanting/expecting the activity to achieve and is that measurable? Sometimes it will be and sometimes you may have to look at longer term broader measures such as an uplift in sales over time.
- Linked to the above – are you being realistic about what the activity can achieve? In the example above the business owner was particularly upset because he felt the marketing company had not been honest about that.
Often marketing takes time to pay dividends, but by being strategic about what you are doing and why you have a hugely greater chance of success. When marketing works, it can make an enormous difference to the success of the business making it absolutely worth the risk
If you’re wondering about investing please just go ahead and give me a call. I offer a free half hour consultation enabling you to make an informed decision – just as one of my current clients Maxinity did a few years ago:
‘When we approached Sugar Bullet Marketing following a recommendation, we were at a strategic crossroads for the business and wanted some advice to help us move forward. Fast forward a few years and Nicki has been instrumental in helping us to determine our positioning in the market, who to target with our marketing and how to do it, leading to significant growth in the business.’Geoff Hazell, Director, Maxinity