marketing" describes a type of behaviour
seen all too often; particularly from those
running a small business.
classic cry of the binge marketeer is
"Oops, business is a bit slow, I
guess I'd better do some marketing".
While this is most often said in the midst
of a quiet spell it's also a sentiment
aired when the bank balance is a little
thin or when new staff arrive. In other
words it's a panic button reaction said
in the vain belief that a few actions
here and there will get things moving
again. Oh, that business development was
said, let's be fair, it sometimes works,
but often it does not. There can be many
explanations for quiet spells and whilst
marketing may not make you totally immune,
it can certainly increase your flow of
small business marketing is not an activity
to be done in spurts, it should be constantly
happening in your business. If we think
of marketing as an engine, it needs to
be ticking over steadily at all times.
A quiet spell now often signals a lack
of marketing six or nine months ago.
we needn't be daunted or scared by marketing.
It needn't be that difficult; the secret
is to find what works for you and keep
on doing it.
there may be occasions where a very particular
marketing activity takes centre stage
- a direct marketing campaign perhaps
or a series of local advertisements -
but these are tactical actions, not the
an ex-marketing consultant, I'm proficient
at baffling people with marketing jargon,
but that has no place here so let's concern
ourselves with real live marketing actions
that we can apply to our small business.
be really clear about this, basic marketing
is simple and anyone can do it (and yes,
that includes YOU). But marketing takes
time to work. One-off panic actions usually
come across as that - a business in panic.
Few like to give their custom to a business
that is in crisis, your business will
simply not be an attractive proposition.
on the other hand you design a program
of marketing actions and stick with it
consistently it can and will spread like
an example, let's look at a very basic
marketing plan. Try developing something
similar for your own business and trial
it over a period of a few months. Do more
of the things that work- research, understand
and amend the things that do not.
any successful network marketing person
will tell you, the secret is to 'sow a
seed' each and every day. We should absolutely
be doing the same in our businesses. In
practical terms this might translate to:
Telling at least one person per day what
you do, who you do it for and what the
outcomes of your work are
* Add the name of at least one potential
client to an on-going prospect list
* Add one more personal detail about an
existing client to a personal profile
* Send one letter/one e-mail/make one
telephone call to a new contact
Most of these actions are directed at
developing and building relationships
with your customers, whether new or existing.
main point is to have marketing be the
focus for at least a brief period each
and every day. Often the best way is to
block an hour or so out every morning
to undertake such actions. If you employ
staff, have them develop their own daily
plan in much the same way. The key here
is to start the engine and keep it ticking
let's look at compiling a list of weekly
marketing actions. These might include
such things as:
Following up the new contacts and relationships
you've made during the week
* Setting aside time to make a block of
phone calls to new prospects
* Asking past customers to respond to
some questions regarding your level of
service and their general impressions
of your business - its procedures, its
staff and so on
* Researching your competitors and seeing
where your 'point of difference' lies.
Thanks to the Internet, these days competitor
analysis is so much easier. When was the
last time you really looked into what
those around you are up to?
you're effectively handling your daily
and weekly actions, your monthly actions
can be a time for summarising and looking
at more far reaching strategies. Where
you have a sales-force, this can also
be a good time to thoroughly assess their
daily/weekly and monthly actions, adjusting
their targets as necessary - keeping the
revs up on the engine!
it's a time to review areas of your business
that you may not consider to be true marketing.
For example, the effectiveness of all
the 'contact points' of your business:
the initial phone greeting from your receptionist
* your voicemail and after hours message
* email signature
* letterheads & business cards
* vehicle appearance and vehicle livery
All of these project an image to the outside
world, to your past, present and future
customers. Each area is an element of
your overall marketing and as such is
extremely important to the entire marketing
picture. Could any be improved? Could
they work harder for you?
importantly, it is strongly recommend
that each and every month you and your
staff make voice contact (either in person
or on the phone) with the people who really
support and encourage your business. These
people are your advocates - they are in
effect 'silent salespeople' for you. Advocates
are the people who generate referrals
and really help your business to grow.
Think of them as your marketing team.
when you next contemplate a binge, try
instead to translate your actions into
a regular program of activity. If you
already have a regular program, consider
how you might get the engine ticking over
a little faster.