Just like an insurance policy, investing in good ongoing marketing helps to ensure your business will thrive, even if the market around you doesn’t.
Many small businesses and even startups look at marketing as another line item expense, a drag on their P&L, something they’ll invest in when they get the time to manage it properly or after other big initiatives are launched, or after a key hire is brought on board, or, or, or…. See where I’m going with this? It’s easy to push marketing to the back of the priority list.
It’s equally as easy to not invest in ongoing marketing initiatives when business is good using the “We can’t handle the sales leads we currently have? Why would we want more?” mentality.
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” – Peter Drucker
Marketing is an Investment in the Long-Term Health of Your Company
Marketing can pay immediate dividends and can bring long-term value to your company, but you have to support it within your organization, consistently for it to work at all. Stopping and starting any kind of marketing puts you at a disadvantage and costs you money ramping up new staff or new marketing vendors.
It’s easier, faster, and cheaper to make incremental improvements to your marketing programs instead of reinventing and adapting programs to new audiences, new regulations, and new technologies. Every pause costs you time and opens the door for your competitors to take your position in your market.
“Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is from the customer’s point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must, therefore, permeate all areas of the enterprise.” – Peter Drucker
Marketing’s purpose isn’t “growth hacking” or compensating for a short-term revenue shortfall – marketing is in it to win it over the lifespan of your company.
Ongoing Marketing Distinguishes Your Company vs. the Competition
Number one it helps insulate you against competition by positioning you as the obvious choice and the market leader
Smart Marketing Cultivates Higher Margin Customers
Marketing shapes and cultivates your customer base as well as your products. As your company evolves, so does your customer base.
As you get more sophisticated, so will your customer, and your marketing needs to match this growing sophistication. Your customers will also inform and direct the trajectory and features of your products. More and better-targeted features can command a higher price point vs. your competition giving you a distinct edge in customer volume and margin.
Marketing Can Help Protect Your Company Against Uncontrollable Changes
Investing in marketing when business is good helps protect your company against unforeseen changes in the marketplace.
Tariffs resulting in financial penalties or increased costs of doing business, changes in the tax code, and natural disasters can all impact the way you do business and your cost of goods. When your costs go up the first instinct is to pass along the costs to your consumers, but if they’re used to paying a certain price or your competitors are pushing to compete on price, you have to find a way to absorb some of these costs.
- Cost of good increases – producing your project just got 10% more expensive? Because you’ve spent the time to cultivate a good group of high-margin customers, you can absorb the cost increase without much disruption to your business, employees or production pipeline.
- Decreased consumer spending – get smart about why your customers really buy and the specific pain your product solves and you’re well positioned to continue connecting with and selling to customers who feel they must have your product, no matter how much money they’re trying to save or the time of year.
- Employment issues – the brand awareness generated from ongoing marketing programs helps ensure you have the best quality people working for you. Your marketing and brand awareness will help acquire employees and your employee-supporting culture will make certain they stick around.
Marketing Keeps your Customer Pipeline Full
Marketing generates leads which turn into business for your company. If your company has a 3 or 6-month lead cycle, you have to be on top of your marketing game to keep your company healthy. In some cases, smart marketing investments can help shorten that consumer decision-making cycle and increase your sales numbers but you have to be monitoring changes in your market, evolving customer needs and adapting to those needs to keep your pipeline full.
Starting and stopping marketing creates chaos in your sales system and you can trash any financial forecasting you’ve done. Full stop.
If the time comes for you to think about ramping down your marketing, either because you don’t think it’s doing what it’s supposed to or your salespeople are running around with their hair on fire because they’re incredibly busy, don’t. Instead, ask how marketing can help you select better customers, get the edge over your competitors, or set up a paid referral network to filter off the business that’s too small or who’s customers are hard to deal with but don’t stop cold turkey.
If you’re looking for a consultant to help you get smarter about your customers and help you improve your conversion rate, choose a time for us to talk that’s convenient for your schedule. I’m giving away free, 20-minute sessions where you can pick my brain, completely gratis.