Let's define the audience for this is article (series of articles). It is meant for "small" businesses doing under $20 million in annual revenues, but probably still doing over $1 million annually. These are the people who've been around the block a few times. This is going to be a series of articles based on the 5 topics listed in the bulletpoints below. I wanted to try to make them short and sweet instead of long and drawn-out like my normal posts. So stay tuned over the next few weeks. Now let's get into it!
Again, what are the biggest marketing mistakes being made for these mid-sized small businesses? Here are the top 5 I've been running into recently.
So let me tell you a story. The other day I was talking to a prospect. This is an ideal situation and really a perfect fit. That is if the prospect can get out of his own way. Now this is a smart business guy with a solid business model. He has a background in marketing and sales so he's even doing a fairly good job of handling marketing on his own, but honestly he is running into a few of these issues. To help him and to help you let's dig in.
Let's set up this list and knock down the problems one-by-one.
I understand as a CEO you have probably spent a ton of cash on marketing over the years. Most of it has been flushed down the toilet. I get it, I've been there, I've done that! However to be successful you need to find a way to overcome your hatred for marketing and marketers. Heck, I hate most 'em myself.
The reason this happens though is because most marketers are not in the "sales" world. Well, if you are talking to the owner of a small shop then they probably are, they just don't know it. Because of this… they often "over-value" the power of marketing in their mind. They think all you have to do is market more and then you will hit your growth goals. This is not the case.
In order for you to be successful with marketing you need to understand marketing's role in business development. The role marketing plays is making things beautiful, staying in front of your target audience and clients, building trust and a relationship with these people, educating them, and most importantly supporting the sales team by helping them generate qualified leads. If anyone tries to sell you brand awareness and other marketing bull without any real focus on thought leadership (educating your customers and building a relationship over time), lead generation and lead qualification… RUN, RUN VERY FAST!
Understand though that "marketing" is an ongoing investment like paying towards your retirement. Once you start paying in, you should never quit. The same is true for marketing. Also understand that marketing done well like a solid growth and sales focused website builds a solid foundation that keeps on giving and builds interest over time. This is just like your retirement investing's compounding interest year-over-year. So make sure you find a solution that will allow you to BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION and one THAT IS SCALABLE and ALLOWING YOU TO BUILD ON FOR YEARS. Make sure it has 100% MEASURABILITY so you can track and measure everything you do, at all times. Also understand you have two options: outsource it forever or bring it inside at some point? Think about what it will look like to transition from outsourcing to internal management. What will be needed? If you or your marketing team (internal/external) aren't having these conversations about your marketing than you are really only thinking of the specific "marketing" project at hand. 90% of the time this will have you walking away frustrated and feeling burned. It is better to do NO MARKETING than to do it in a short-sighted way or a single one-off marketing "project".
Put together a 10 year business growth goal, a 3 year target, and a 1 year growth plan. Focus your initial campaign on overall goals to hit 1 year goal, but really only dig into a strategy for 90 days. Anything longer than this will be hard to stay 100% focused on, and wild predictions. Then, make sure the marketing you are buying is set up to…
Stay tuned for the next topic in this series "CEO Marketing Mistake #2: asking… "so let's cut to the case– how much is this going to cost?".