Marketing can make or unmake (not to say break) your business these days. It isn’t just something you should consider doing if you have some spare money. It mustn’t be just another side activity. It’s something essential, that will make you float on the pond’s surface, rather than sink down into invisibility, darkness, and, consequently, nonexistence. Let’s identify and debunk some common misconceptions that are tough, but necessary to break for anyone who wants to adapt to the modern times.
I need my budget where it can actually produce something… Goods or service, not Facebook chitchat
Wrong! Not that the statement itself is wrong. Wrong is the assumption that marketing doesn’t produce anything. Let’s put it this way. Nobody can tell how smart you are if you keep your mouth shut all the time. „If you don’t have a mouth“, it almost slipped off my cursor – but that wouldn’t be possible. Everybody has one, obviously. But not everybody realizes the importance of using it the right way. Well, marketing today is your mouth. Depending on how well you feed your mouth, it will whisper (nay, we don’t want that), talk in a normal and decent tone (meh), sing in a beautiful voice (give it to me), or yell (some people like to do it, although it isn’t very refined). It can be a loudspeaker if you want it to be. It can be an amplifier of your message, which is the best option (though hardest to achieve). Marketing is even more than that. It gives you the means to hear what people want and give it to them. If done right, it will give you an abundance of that most precious currency in today’s world – influence. Dig up and work out the channels through which you are going to communicate with potential clients. Start doing it right now, because it’s the only way your business can eventually acquire stable growth.
I’m doing marketing alright, but there’s not enough money this month… Social media can wait
Social media doesn’t wait, because it’s built of people, and they are constantly bombarded with content. The more high-quality and relevant content on your side, the more you’ll get in their face. If you don’t get in their face, your endeavors are futile and the effort wasted. If you manage to get in their face today, but don’t do it tomorrow as well, they will just forget you. People’s memory is nowadays shorter than ever. Not just because the human brain is limited in its capacity, but because companies and brands constantly compete in grabbing people’s attention. You have to either join the game or lose the name. Or fail to build it to start with. Furthermore, if you interrupt your marketing even for a month, it will probably take you 5 times as long to win back your followers’ attention. Consistency is one of the main skills you should practice. Audience is made of potential customers. Customers need nurturing and attending to their needs. Don’t take it from us. Take it from Seth Godin, one of the marketing geniuses of our time, who said: „One way to sell a costumer something in the future is simply to get his or her permission in advance.“ It takes a long time to build permission. But it’s made of likes, shares, pins and repins, tweets and retweets, to put it shortly – engagement with your brand.
Marketing means more sales… But how long do I have to wait for more sales?
Although the world is faster than ever (or because of it), this is the game where you have to be patient to win. High-quality marketing will never grab people by their sleeves and yell at them: Buy my product! It’s good, trust me! High-quality marketing knows better. To be perfectly frank, people are not stupid either. They are smart, well-informed and – mind this! – bored to death by tedious, unintelligent, non-witty advertisements that have been going on around them forever. Cold calls persuading them to buy whatever someone intended to sell? Yeah, that may have worked in „The Wolf Of Wall Street“. But not today. Marketing shouldn’t sell mere products or service. It should start by offering for free layers of value, an extensive and in-depth culture, education and fun, along with the products. Its primary function today is to make people like you so much that they will want to reward you by choosing your products over myriads of others, similar to yours or even better. Reward? Not out of pity, of course. We use that word because every piece of attention from a customer, let alone a coin, should be considered a reward. Here comes the good part. Once someone „rewards“ you, the cycle of benefits is just starting to unfold. They will most likely recommend you to other people. Whether they do it directly, by telling their grandma at the dinner table about the amazing product they bought, or indirectly, by sharing their experience (or your post) with their Facebook friends, or giving you a 5-star review for anyone out there to see, delight is contagious. But you need to really roll up the sleeves, do some hard work and probably do it for a couple of years to see the magic happen regularly. It’s a simple psychology of people liking what they bought because they made their own decision to buy it. So, let’s hear one more saying, this time by Joe Chernov: „Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.“ Preposterous as this may sound, it’s only a matter of time when people will start looking for apples in a Mac store. The brand has nearly hijacked the word and emptied it out of its original meaning. It almost became bigger than the reality.
This is what you should set out to do with your own brand. If you have a business without a brand, good marketing will build your brand, make it unique and recognizable, engrave it into people’s unconsciousness. It’s hard but not impossible. It can be expensive, but you can start low-profile and experiment. The best thing about digital marketing is that there are many amazing ways to do amazing things that don’t cost much (or don’t cost anything). To cover the marketing expenses, you can still sell locally, using traditional methods, while they still work. But be sure to allocate budget for marketing, because it will get you prepared for the moment you enter the big game. Don’t wait a single moment. Shatter the prejudices (if any), conquer your fears and let the adventure begin.