One of the owners of a fast growing civils company recently told me that his biggest marketing challenge is to convince his partners that building the company brand is important. As he explained it to me: “If I meet with the tax man, everyone enquires how the meeting went, but after a meeting with the marketer, no one asks how that went”

It is a challenge that I see often. There is usually someone in the business that takes marketing seriously, but they can have a tough time selling it to sceptical colleagues.

Why is this?

The reason is obvious. Marketing is not critical.

But this is the case for many other things:

  • Your blood pressure medication is not critical, but if you stop taking it, it will impact your long term health.

  • Your family is not critical – it can always wait, but if you keep on neglecting them, things will fall apart.

  • Your retirement is not critical, but if you never invest a cent, you will suffer.

Fascinating, isn’t it, how the most important things in life are never critical?
Critical things are about life or death. A category all on its own. Important things, on the contrary, are about success or failure. The one is about survival, the other about enjoyment. Survival mode never leads to success, it just gives you a second chance.

Building the company brand is not critical. It doesn’t compare with a broken down machine, striking workers, a tax liability, or whether you will be able to meet the monthly salary bill.

But it does raise an important question: How successful will your business be, five or ten years down the track?

If you can’t spend time on building your business brand because it is not critical, you are facing a critical long term problem: a business that will never flourish. You’ll sell out for less. Or it will die a slow death before you can get out, because you are so caught up in daily operations that you can’t steer the ship.

I sit in many meetings with owners. Some can close the door and give me half an hour of quality time. Others can’t. Ironically, the most successful of them, in crisp, cold financial terms, are always the ones that can spend uninterrupted time with me, the marketing guy,

If you don’t have time to assess in which direction you are swimming, you are going to bump your head, or drown. It is the difference between critical, and important.

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