Business is a numbers game. When I speak to entrepreneurs about marketing they always give me the same reason why they want to do it: because we want to sell more. Needless to say, “selling” is about the numbers. But before you can reach any of these numbers, you need the marketing reach.

So if it is all about the numbers, then “marketing” itself should be about the numbers. At the end of the day, after all the creativity, and storytelling and fancy tools, it is about helping you reach more people – numbers! – than you would following a pure “sales” approach. The result should ultimately drive your income statement number higher.

We tend to forget this. It is easy to think of marketing as a series of creative communication activities aimed at generating that mystical thing called “leads”. This is true, but it misses the critical measure: how many people have you reached – i.e. communicated to – today?

You see, it is not just good enough to do marketing and hope for leads. Before you can get the lead, you need the reach. The critical number is how many people saw your message, over the last month. Do you know?

Reach is probably the most neglected number in most people’s businesses. Everyone obsesses over income, over leads, but very few obsess over reach. It becomes a simple game of calculus: assuming your offering is sound, and assuming that one in every ten people will buy….how many groupings of ten people did you talk to today, this week, this month? The more you can speak to, the faster you will accumulate sales.

This game of “reach” as the primary aim of a marketing campaign was previously the sole territory of large companies who could afford tools such as television, billboards and magazines to place their ads. Then the Internet happened, in particular Google and Facebook – and now anyone can reach more people on a relatively small budget. But it does mean driving it! You can’t just haphazardly sit online with a stagnant website and post to social media when you feel like it. You need to build awareness; chase a number!

Too many businesses with aggressive sales targets have weak marketing targets. They do marketing, but they don’t know why they do it, what they want to achieve, who they want to reach and what message they try to convey. In short – there is no strategy.

You should do whatever it takes to reach as much of your audience, as quickly as possible, with a powerful message, cost effectively. It’s a numbers game.