by Andy D’Silva
Every single small business started with a dream. Provide the market with good products and services, help them obtain their wants and needs, continually grow and strengthen, and lastly, put a healthy profit back into the business so that the business owner can enjoy the fruits of their labor.
It’s day one and you’ve made a few sales — great! A week rolls by and you are loving every minute of being your own boss.
It’s week two and you get your first return — bummer! The business cards you ordered haven’t arrived, the advertisement has the wrong phone number, the emails are piling up, you have phone messages to check, your assistant hasn’t sent your thank you cards to your new clients, and so on. You are starting to feel a little insane — here’s where the breakdown starts.
The breakdown seems to occur as business owners get wrapped up in the day-to-day business and forget about the most important parts of their dream — growth and profit.
And the last thing they want to think about is the very activity that will add to growth and profit —“Is my marketing effective this month?”
Hesitance in marketing
A recent survey completed by RSC Business Group Inc., Toronto showed that over 80% of small- to medium-sized businesses didn’t use any media-type advertising, but rather depended on networking, referrals, and one-to-one marketing.
It’s too expensive for your business to depend on this labor-intensive type of marketing. Why is it that businesses resort these strategies?
Businesses are just complicating marketing! Direct mail, email, newspaper, postcards, Yellow Pages, billboards, etc., are just vehicles to market your message, but the “process” will always be the same, and it’s simple.
The key is to learn the process, then you can fill in the blanks with the type of vehicle you will use to test your message.
Businesses today are bombarded with different vehicles that promise spectacular results but have become blind to the “process.” The result: A backward approach to marketing (starting with the vehicle) and feeling overwhelmed with options. This leads to paralysis and ends with putting it off to a day when you’re not reacting to problems. Then, the cycle starts again.
How did business owners learn that this is the right approach to marketing? One theory is that the first point of contact into marketing for business owners is advertising agents. How could these agents be wrong? Didn’t they go to school for this? Don’t they work for reputable companies? Yes and yes!
Ad agencies are businesses too, and they have common interests like you — growth and profit. They achieve this by creating masterpieces that win awards and try to funnel as many small businesses through their door.
To deal with volume, ad agents often advise businesses that they just need to copy ads from their competitors — but often, the competitors have ineffective ads themselves.
So, now you’ve spent your annual budget on this beautiful ad, just as beautiful as your competitors’, and you feel like you’re getting great exposure. But what’s your measurable result?
I have nothing against advertising agents, but it’s not the right environment for small and medium businesses with limited budgets.
OK! So what is marketing, after all?
What I am about to reveal is going to flip everything on its head, it’s going to challenge everything you have been told by advertising agents, and it will make you say, “That’ll never work for my business!”
Marketing’s function is the creation of new prospects. It turns individuals who don’t know about you (strangers) into people who do know about you (prospects). It does this by a variety of means, with no intention that they will buy what you offer.
The best Cancun marketing pitch
A great demonstration of this was when I was on a recent trip to Cancun, Mexico. I was approached by an individual at the pool of my five-star resort. They offered me a free all-day cruise on a 30-foot sailboat to a nearby island where I could shop, snorkel, parasail, and eat at a local buffet.
Wow! All this for free? There had to be a catch. I was told “no,” and that it was complimentary from the resort and given to all its patrons staying with them.
The day was more than amazing, and I was at an emotional high. I, along with the 30 other patrons on board, felt like royalty. There was, in fact, a catch, but it was not as evident as what I saw at other five-star resorts.
During the trip, the staff talked about treatments given to patrons who were part-owners at the resort and about the new land that was purchased to accommodate these owners. We were told of all the great features and benefits of becoming a new owner. They didn’t hard sell us. Instead, they talked casually, as though it was information that we may find valuable if we decided to buy.
I didn’t buy a timeshare with them, but they must have closed at least 30% of the patrons on that sailboat. It was a win-win for everyone at the end of the day. It was better than being stuck in a boardroom and walking out with a bottle of tequila after saying no to a hard sales pitch.
There was no requirement that the people on the boat had to buy, and there was no talk about numbers. We were all given the same experience, regardless of whether we were going to make a purchase. However, those that were interested were asked to follow the staff back to the VIP area to work out the timeshare — those were the prospects they were looking for.
Marketing is just that: getting strangers to raise their hand and say, “tell me more…” In the next edition, we will go over the marketing process in more detail and some effective ways to turn strangers into prospects.
Implementing a marketing strategy
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level by incorporating a more focused marketing strategy, but aren’t sure how to, please contact us. To learn more about how RSC Business Group can help you, check out our products and services. We look forward to hearing from you.
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