I work hard, my children tell me this regularly (and my wife has given up telling me). But this blog isn’t about how I work because I love what I do and I’m happy with the work/life balance I’ve got, besides anymore free-time and I’d feel I’d not earned my keep! So I thought I’d focus on those directors who work hard tending to the daily demands of the business, but who find it almost impossible to see beyond the here and now. This is reflected in the calls I get asking how I can help, usually a Director who has identified that things appear to have ‘recently’ gone wrong. Calls that include comments such as, “the business has just lost its biggest customer”, “our top salesman has left and has taken all our contacts”, “we can’t afford to replace our ageing machinery”, “only a few of our staff seem to have any focus”…you get the idea?
Amongst the ‘quotes’ above, most people would easily identify half the comments as being related to marketing but the latter two less so. Yet all are comments that can and should be affected and alleviated by marketing, and at my level they are. Take the third of these three points. If your machinery is old and you can’t afford to replace it, you may still produce a good product, but if you’re having to re-make 1 in every 10 orders and it continually requires more downtime for maintenance, then these often ‘hidden costs’ can’t be ignored. Yet the root of problem is usually caused by one of two issues; the company’s costs are too high and escalating out of control, or it has focused on winning work on price alone.
In an environment where wages, energy and raw materials continue to rise and your customer’s desire is for ‘cheap as chips’ products you simply cannot sustain this as you’re being squeezed from both sides. It’s like having children, as they get older they desire the latest fashion items, sports equipment, tech gadgets etc. and you stand at home handing out the cash. In a business sense your issues could be down to soft skills such as training, leadership and motivation or it could also be that it’s time to review who your customers actually are, and who they should be. There are many things we can do and do in fact do to transform people’s understanding of what’s going on around them, issues we can see as outsiders but that aren’t so obvious when you become familiar with them or tired of not satisfying them.
Whilst we have clients whose desire it is for us to supply communication materials: websites, brochures and case studies as well as those that want us to develop events on their behalf, we always recommend to any new client that they put their ‘house in order’ first before we start spending money on publicity materials. After all why try and win more work if customers are likely to suffer problems caused through other business departments. Marketing shouldn’t be what many have allowed it to become, the magic act! Sprinkle a little bit of marketing stardust over this and everything will be alright in the morning. There’s no such thing as a marketing magician.
If you would like to respond to the comments in this blog post or talk to us about how we could help you in your business, please get in touch.