If you starve your body from an essential vitamin, you will in due course experience symptoms associated with the deprivation. A doctor will be able to recognize these symptoms and recommend the relevant vitamin to turn things around.

The same applies to a business. If certain key ingredients – let’s call them “business vitamins” – are not present, one will eventually see the symptoms. The most common business vitamins that small companies don’t have enough of,  are “Branding” and “Marketing”.

If a company has neglected its brand, the symptom is usually an obsession with price as the sole reason why customers would buy. There is no story, no emotion, no “reason to believe”. Nothing extra apart from the price. Interestingly, this symptom rears it’s head in both B2C and B2B companies. When “being the cheapest” forms the backbone of business development efforts, the brand vitamin is typically absent.

Another symptom is “spray and pray” which is essentially a lack of focus in business development efforts.  It typically shows up when you ask the loaded question “who is your target market” and the answer is “everyone”. It is an interesting contradiction, the smaller the company, the more focused its business development efforts should be, not broader. Or to put it  differently, the more desperate you are for a sale, the more targeted you should be in finding it. This concept of targeting a market is a fundamental principle of Marketing and it’s absence is a clear symptom that a company does not have a marketing strategy in place. The marketing vitamin is running low. This again happens across B2B and B2C companies.

So, two key symptoms as reflected by the following typical comments made by business owners are:

  • “Our strategy is to be the cheapest” – indicating a shortage of the “brand” vitamin.
  • “Our target market is everyone” – indicating a lack of the “marketing” vitamin.

As with any lack of essential vitamins, a prolonged shortage can eventually become debilitating and even result in death. This is true for both the human body and a business.

Just this past week we visited a business that shows signs of terminal decline, due in large part because no targeting is in place, meaning the sole salesman runs from pillar to post trying to gain traction across 10 different markets.

Business owners often think Marketing and Branding are optional extras. Granted, just as with Vitamins A, C and D, it won’t kill you if you don’t take it today, but eventually the results can be painful. A shortage in vitamin D, for example, will eventually affect your heart muscle!

As we head into the middle of winter, it is maybe time that you not only assess the vitamin intake of your body, but also of your business. Is your company showing symptoms of the flu? This is why you need to do marketing in your business.

Contact us today for an initial free discussion of your business marketing challenges.