When sales and revenues are headed in the wrong direction, cost-cutting can seem like a prudent measure.
We’re here to say that marketing is one line item that should be spared the knife. Letting audiences know why they should buy from you rather than your competition is precisely what you should be doing when your company is looking to maintain profitability or grow. Therein lies the paradox.
If you can’t afford to be marketing, you can’t afford not to be.
In the extremes of good and bad times, a consistent brand presence serves as an insurance policy— insurance against loss of current customers and the attraction of new ones. Articles like ‘How to Increase Profits by Focusing on Customer Retention Strategies’, remind us of the importance of finding this balance.
So why is marketing so often neglected? In some cases, business owners simply lack the resources to market effectively. Developing responsible marketing initiatives along with managing customer service, payroll, finances, inventory and more can just be too much. There are also business owners who have no time to focus on marketing as they are consumed with trying to manage a growth curve or sales drop. Some business owners believe in the value of marketing but are just too anxious to make the investment without an iron-clad guarantee of a significant return.
Too many brands, too little time.
There is much competition, so it is vital that you define your brand. We’re not just talking about logos, pictures and typefaces (though they are important); we’re talking about your brand as an experience. From the voice of your blog to how your employees answer the phone, your brand should be an experience that distinguishes you from your competition and most importantly, with your customers.
“Build brand loyalty on shared values with your customers. It is not the number of interactions a buyer has with your brand, but the quality and relatability of the interaction.” (Harvard Business Review)
Given the exposure that technology affords, there’s little room for error in today’s branding environment. If your brand stinks, prospects may conclude that your business is ignorable and will head elsewhere. Whether it’s video content, social media or your website, the only lasting way to make a connection with your audience is to deliver a beautiful and compelling brand.
We don’t tell consumers what they want. They tell us.
Consumers are in the driver’s seat. They have total control over what they view and interact with on their social feeds, so your brand has to position itself exactly how and where consumers wish to receive it.
Your brand needs to be relevant and active weekly, if not daily. Your brand needs to come alive for your consumers regardless of whether it is experienced online, in social realms, in event or retail environments. Consumers today expect brands to be beautifully executed and they expect exchanging goods and services with that brand to be as convenient as possible.
The bottom line is, every brand needs to continually adapt to its customers’ needs because if it isn’t, your competitor’s brand is.
It’s okay to ask for help.
For small businesses and start-ups their brand may be their biggest selling tool. A beautifully executed brand screams confidence no matter how red the bottom line may be. Sometimes a reinvigorated brand with exciting, new (and relevant) ideas are exactly what’s needed in order to build momentum. That said, it’s all about execution.
A Brandmuscle report in 2018 found that the majority of small businesses are doing all of their marketing in-house. It also found that 64 percent of business owners are doing all the marketing themselves while only three percent were using an agency. While business owners know their business better than anyone, they may not know how to market it better than anyone. And when all of an organization’s marketing duties fall on to one person, execution will suffer. And, that’s simply something that a business of any size cannot afford to do.
Are you an SMB or start-up and need help with your brand? We’ve got scaled services to meet your needs and suit your budget.