It is amazing how business owners do marketing and sales related stuff without thinking it through. They go to events and conferences because it is targeted at their type of industry but never really benefit from attending. They write emails to prospects that make no difference. They spend money on Google Ads that produce no new leads. The same lack of thought applies to the use of Social Media, the business website, and every other marketing activity.
Somehow there is this idea that by simply doing marketing, business owners think they deserve a pat on the back. That somehow, just doing marketing generically will magically impact positively on sales. So let’s say this loud and clear (and state the obvious): Marketing has no impact on sales if it is done poorly.
You see, here’s the thing: Marketing is not like other business functions. It is an outside-in process, not inside-out. Doing marketing properly requires you to put yourself in the customers’ head. What appeals to them? What do they want to see and read? What problems and challenges and expectations do they have? And then, once you have figured those things out, to internalise it into your business through the creation of your marketing campaign. Outside-in.
Because businesses are used to inside-out process, they generally suck at marketing, which requires the opposite. Entrepreneurs struggle with this idea of thinking in reverse. Of getting out of their office, their kingdom, keeping their own mouths shut, and entering the world of their customers to listen, learn and internalise.
Over the years I have become more experienced as a consultant. I’ve learned to tread carefully when approached by a business owner wanting help with marketing. I have learned that most of them aren’t ready for the gospel according to marketing. Typically they can’t stomach what I have to tell them. They want an inside-out process, like they are used to with every other business function. I must come in, take orders, execute actions and sales should then magically flow from the outside. I have got myself entangled in a few engagements like this over the years. But I have learned my lesson.
Today my approach to marketing consulting is to make sure I sketch the reverse order to the client before we get started. I make sure I explain the process I follow clearly and that the process is fundamentally different to anything they are used to in their businesses. I then do a first pass assessment of their marketing and give them my initial feedback and proposed actions. I make sure I don’t hold back and provide maximum clarity on the course of action I would want to explore further. I do all of this at no charge, and typically most business owners run for the hills at this point. Those left standing are the clients I want to work with.
If you want a no holes barred assessment of your marketing, don’t hesitate to send me an email. You may not like what I have to say, but I sure promise I will try my utmost to bring the outside in. Ultimately, every cent earned in your business, comes from outside. That’s what makes marketing so powerful.