For anyone who runs a business, you’ll know that the true question is not whether we need marketing. Instead, you should ask “How much of it do we need?” Word-of-mouth is a valuable form of marketing, but a store owner can have the best products available on the market, and a top-notch staff, and still flounder financially if no one is able to find their product or recommend it.
As with any business, it takes money to make money. An investment in marketing is equal to, if not more important than, the investments you make for inventory and staff.
Why do Businesses Need an Integrated Marketing Strategy in 2019?
When you look at the marketplace right now, every type of company needs marketing, whether you are a small business, an eCommerce firm, an attorney, or a doctor. Many owners and company directors do not understand that word-of-mouth can only take you so far. For that reason, they focus on pleasing consumers, but not necessarily on finding them in the first place. That can lead to viable opportunity costs.
The Investor’s Perspective
As an owner, you have to take yourself out of the equation and look at your business, not as the owner but as an investor. The objective of a business is to grow and turn a profit. If you try to sell your business, what would it be worth to an investor or capitalist?
This perspective will provide diligence and insight. You must ask yourself certain questions: would you invest in your own business? Would you buy your own business? Why or why not?
Once you genuinely look, you will see the faulty angles in your business. Clients tend to miss one crucial aspect: a good marketing strategy.
The Owner’s Perspective
You need to grow and make money. Your products and services exist to solve a problem or fill a niche. If people are not seeing your brand, they won’t see the problems that you’re solving or value proposition. Sooner or later, some other company will steal that market share and value away.
In today’s world, you cannot differentiate a website from a content management system, social media, technology, software, CRM, or an inventory management system. We call this integrated marketing technology. Every system has to connect.
Let’s take a look at your social media, hypothetically. Your Facebook will be integrated with your website, and your website will be integrated with your CRM. Then your leads will fall into your CRM.
Your CRM will then communicate back to your QuickBooks or your zero accounts in terms of which leads are turning into sales, automated quotes, and automated sales processes. It goes all the way from very basic to highly advanced technology, where people are running multi-country operations on different platforms. Marketing gets very complicated so you cannot separate your systems.
What does marketing do to help make money for a business? That’s simple – it exposes people to your product and your brand. How many songs do you know just because you heard them on a Mac commercial? How many times have you found yourself craving a new food you just saw in a Pizza Hut ad?
Marketing is an almost subliminal way for businesses to make customers aware of them. There’s a fine line between marketing and spamming, but a cleverly run campaign can make you a household name, sometimes even overnight.
Marketing can also have much less dramatic, but far deeper results than just those in the hit-or-miss channel of viral marketing. SEM or Search Engine Marketing is a proven method of creating a long term marketing campaign that will bring in exponentially bigger results as the campaign ages. Search engine marketing is generally accomplished through the use of SEO, or search engine optimization. The basic goal of SEO is to make sure that when someone searches for the product you offer, it’s your site they find.
SEO is far from easy. In fact, it is a very complicated discipline that can take years to master. If you are just starting out or your hands are full, it’s best to let an SEO company do all the detailed work. SEO can be incredibly tedious, and for most people, the time spent on SEO marketing is better used for other tasks.
A great SEO company can ensure that your targeted audience sees your site, clicks through to visit, and ultimately converts. They will either purchase a product, fill in a form, call you or subscribe. In any case, you will achieve your goal.
What happens when you don’t market effectively? Businesses in financial trouble often cut back on their marketing budgets. This hurts any potential growth and your competitive advantage.
No market exists in a vacuum. Businesses rise, fill in the gaps others leave behind, and fall. While you’re not communicating value, your competition is. Fewer and fewer people are finding your product. Instead, they’re becoming loyal customers of your competitors.
When you don’t market, the ”out of sight, out of mind” rule applies. You will lose brand visibility, and even clients you had in the past may forget about you. A steady marketing strategy is important if you wish to stay relevant, and if you want your customers to have confidence in your brand.
Do you want people to see your product or service? We need marketing to create an interaction that will lead to that connection, with a purchase as the desired goal. Anyone with a product or service cannot expect, “If I build it they will come.” This may have worked in the movie Field of Dreams, but it won’t work online or offline.
Online marketing provides marketers the opportunity they need. This strategy includes website optimization, like SEO and social media. That way the online buyer will find the product when he or she actually ready to buy.
The Importance of Educating Your Marketing Clients
When we talk about the marketing aspect of what we do for companies, we look at certain numbers, analytics, their website, their visibility, their products, and their pricing. We also look at what they’ve done from a marketing standpoint.
We want to know what a client’s brand looks like. Our firm wants to analyze all the business cards and value propositions. Then we can make a clear diagnosis.
One common element is poor marketing. Many companies, as a result, pay high opportunity costs and miss out on higher revenue. Fortunately, it’s our specialty to improve that aspect.
To our clients, we have to show that we are not just trying to sell them our strategies. When we provide marketing, we connect them with clients. We have to educate them that with our marketing strategies they can be making more money.
Clients start by giving us access to their backend and analytics. Then we are able to actually pull data together and present something that isn’t just our word against theirs. We can provide actual and replicable statistics that’ll show them where they’re losing money, where they’re missing out, and where their potential is. We are showing them the gaps in their business.
You have to let these companies know that they are losing money. When you tell them they’re doing some things wrong, they’re going to take offense. They have been running their business for years and they’ve been generating revenue. Even so, they could have been generating so much more.
You have to convince them to not be emotional about this decision, to be logical about the decision, because the numbers do not lie. Neither do the metrics, and competitors do not lie. What matters is that they actually move forward with the marketing strategy and go from there.
How to Justify Your Marketing Costs
Every business owner should perform their due diligence. They should do their research, they should do their homework and know a little bit more about what they’re getting themselves into so they can truly understand the difference between an agency that charges $50,000 as opposed to one that only charges $5,000.
Business owners are emotional. They’re looking at their bottom line, they see where they’re at right now. We can understand that $50,000 may seem like a large investment to them. So, they’re going to go with the $5,000 option.
However, we see that the $5,000 agency they went with lasted maybe six months to a year and then they come over to us, asking why it didn’t work out. We call this the pricing paradox here at Optimum7.
We would say 90% of business owners buy marketing like they’re buying an expense. It should not be done that way. You can’t do that because that’s the primary driver of your business to grow and to be more profitable.
You should buy marketing as an investment, not as an expense. There are, unfortunately, individuals that will always view only the bottom line. But when you aim for the lowest price, you are actually going to lose growth opportunities in the intermediate and long-term. These are called opportunity costs.
Let’s say you’re a business owner and you generate $2 million in annual revenue. That means that you can afford to spend five percent of that amount, or $100,000, on marketing. You truly can. Especially if you are in the digital space, you have to spend that kind of money if you’re looking for leads.
You can’t have a marketing strategy for $500 a month. You just can’t. But there are companies who are selling it. That’s a concern. There is no such thing as a free lunch or even a cheap one. You get exactly what you invest.
When you look at marketing as an expense, the low price doesn’t bother you. You’re just paying that on a monthly basis, and you probably pay that forever. That’s the pricing paradox.
You can’t do SEO for $500 a month. It’s impossible. The content alone costs $250 to $300 per piece of content in a semi-competitive industry, especially if you want a good copywriter to write it.
So the essence of what we’re discussing is if you go too cheap, the price won’t bother you but you won’t get anything in return. This is what we see 99% of the time when people say they were burned. When you look at what the other company did, they just charged the credit card. They didn’t do anything, they’re not on the right system.
Choosing a Marketing Partner You Can Trust
The number one point where people drop the ball is marketing because they don’t know where to start. They don’t know who to trust.
First, you need to do is find an expert that you can verify and that you can trust. That’s step one. Whether it be a close friend, a friend of a friend, or somebody that you just reached out to, you have to make sure that you can trust them. And they have to practice what they preach. Because somebody who does not or cannot do this for themselves cannot do it for you.
This person needs to prove that they’re an expert in that field, someone that understands business and what your bottom line is. They also need to know what you’re trying to achieve, and who knows how to integrate the marketing aspect with your bottom line and business. This somebody has to practice what they preach.
Nowadays, you cannot do marketing, business development, or lead generation if you do not understand how the business operates. One also needs to know how to look at a balance sheet, income statement, or tax form.
That’s what we pride ourselves on here at Optimum7 because we don’t just do marketing, development, or programming. We also understand the business aspect all the way from services to supply chain to logistics to delivery. And it has to be done at the macro level.
So you need to have someone that not only understands marketing but also who knows the business. Now, you need to tie these two aspects together, but how?
Technology is the answer. Modern developments can streamline marketing strategies, and track them. They can also merge these strategies with goals for profit. In short, this individual needs to also understand marketing, business, and technology.
So we’re talking about an advanced, deep consultation here and that consultation is going to cost money. Somebody who charges one-tenth the price that experts charge cannot give you the same caliber of consultation.
If you don’t invest in your business, where will you put that capital? Stop being cheap with your business.
You can feed your business with technology, equipment, people, or talent. Feed your business with marketing as well. Stop being cheap. If you don’t know where to start, find one expert who makes sense.
Once you do, trust your expert or experts and listen to their advice. That way you can specialize and focus on your business. Keep doing what made your business profitable in the first place.
Feed your business, make logical decisions, and most importantly, find the one person or company that you trust. That’s your first step. If you have any questions, contact us and please let us know.