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How Inconsistent Marketing Will Destroy Your Business

April 18, 2017

 

Almost every week, I speak with small business owners who tell me that they cannot compete with the "big guys" in their industry because they can't afford to '"spend as much as they do" {on marketing}.

 

I get it, the idea of allocating hard-earned revenue on something abstract like clicks, likes, views or advertising that they think may not even be seen or heard is enough to make any owner procrastinate, or even avoid it entirely.  So, typically what these deflated-ego businesses do, is dip their marketing toes into a few things here and there.  

 

They try this.  Then they try that.  Then they don't do a darn thing for several months, because the last thing they tried didn't work and they're still upset about 'wasting' money on advertising.  

 

They rationalize to themselves different reasons why doing nothing is better than taking a risk and trying something that they aren't certain is going to work.  Then, one day they wake up and realize that business is slowing down, so they start looking for another way to advertise on the 'cheap', with the intent that if it doesn't work in a month or so, they will again pull the plug.  Their marketing becomes a never-ending cycle of inconsistency.  Sometimes, they'll even confide in advertising experts like me that, "advertising just doesn't work.  I've tried it and got nothing from it."   And, all the while this is going on, their competitors  ("the big guys") are continuing to outspend them in advertising and grab a larger share of the market they so badly need.

 

MARKETING INCONSISTENCY DESTROYS BUSINESSES!

 

Trust me, I understand and can totally relate.  I've been there, done that and have the t-shirt and battle scars to prove it.  But the reality of business is never going to change.  Businesses need customers, both new and repeat to keep the revenue coming in, and the business alive.  Even when a business thinks it is thriving from using only "word of mouth" advertising, they are still not owning the share of their market that they could if they took a broader approach by having a well thought out, effective marketing plan in place to drive new customers to them that are outside of their "referral" network.

 

Regardless of the top line revenues that your business expects to have this year, your P&L plan must always include a specific, consistent budget for marketing & advertising.  It's non-negotiable if you want your business to thrive.  Period.  Whether you look at it as a flat dollar amount each month, use a percentage of total sales, or have some super sophisticated formula,  it is as important as the inventory you stock on the shelves, the equipment that you own or the staff that you employ.

 

"But once I get to a certain level, everyone will know about my business, so I won't need to advertise as much any more, right?"

 

WRONG!

 

Have you ever heard of Starbucks, McDonald's, Ford, Cheerios, or Nike?  Of course you have.  These brands are some of the most well-known in modern history, yet they all continue to advertise consistently.  Why?  Because decades of research proves that whatever is at the top of a consumers mind gets the most attention.  It could be coffee, burgers, pickup trucks, cereal or running shoes. Whatever it is, consistency wins.  Unless, of course, you have a cruddy product or terrible service, then all the advertising in the world won't help you, and in fact, it may even hurt your business by exposing more customers to your bad experience.  

 

Assuming that your product, service and price is at least average or better, consistent marketing & advertising is critical at every level of success, because consumers are not all at the exact same spot in the sales purchase funnel at the exact same time.  If a small percentage, let's say 5% of all consumers are actually 'in-market' for your business right now today, that means the other 95% of consumers are somewhere else within the purchase funnel. Some are 'not at all interested', others may be 'considering', while others may be 'researching future options'.  For this reason alone, you need to be communicating with prospects and existing customers regularly, so your business is the first one they think of as a viable option.  This includes any and every form of contact your business uses such as email, direct phone calls, TV, social media, radio or direct mail.

 

Here is a short list of marketing & advertising inconsistencies that in the long run will absolutely destroy your business over time:

 

1. You don't have a defined, consistent monthly and annual budget.

2. Your defined budget is random. It has no relative bearing on sales, market competitiveness, or is not tied to the cost of acquiring or keeping customers.

3. The messaging/creative you use isn't uniform across all mediums (radio/tv/website/direct mail/business cards, etc.).

4. Your employee's are not aware of your advertising strategy or current creative.

5. You are measuring advertising response rates to validate a good or bad decision, rather than to drive sales.

6. Advertising is something you 'turn-on' when sales are slow, and 'turn-off' when sales are strong.

7. You spread your budget over too many platforms, and don't actually 'own' a large share of voice with any one consistent audience.

 

The bottom line is that business marketing & advertising is all about relationships.  Just like in your personal relationships, you can't expect to have deep meaningful connections with other humans if you only speak to them when you or they need something.  Keeping communication consistent and relevant between your business and your customers gives you the credibility and top of mind awareness that you need to grow your sales, gain a larger share of the market,  and thrive year after year.

 

 

Do you need help with your marketing & advertising strategy?  

 

Contact Mark at mark.steckman@bbgi.com or schedule a free marketing analysis here.

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Steckman is a Senior Broadcast & Digital Marketing Consultant for Beasley Media Group in Tampa, Florida.   For more information about Beasley Media Group - visit www.bbgi.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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