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Marketing for your business: What is it you really want?
Ronnie Harris of VJH Marketing asks is marketing what you want or what you need?
It's my pleasure to introduce Ronnie Harris of VJH Marketing. Her passion and aim is to help SMEs find the right marketing strategy through conversation and collaboration.
Ronnie helps individuals and businesses understand their values, their beliefs and the purpose of their business and works together to create a marketing strategy that reflects the business and attracts your ideal client. During her 20+ years as a marketing professional, Ronnie has worked in many sectors in both small and large organisations. Ronnie has expertise in marketing strategy, marketing implementation plans, brand development, social media management.
In this post, Ronnie talks about the consequences of embarking on marketing activity without a clear vision or strategy.
I recently read a post on LinkedIn from a fellow marketer. Initially it made me smile, then it made me think. The post was:
- I’m looking for a marketer. We have a fantastic product, but we don’t have any money to advertise.
You’re not looking for a marketer, you’re looking for an investor.
- I’m looking for a marketer. I know we need bigger visibility, but my business partner doesn’t agree.
You’re not looking for a marketer, you’re looking for a mediator.
- I’m looking for a marketer. Do you guarantee to double my sales in two months?
You’re not looking for a marketer, you’re looking for a magician!
I’ve been in business since December 2018 having come from a background of in-house marketing and have learnt (the hard way) to make sure that I manage the client’s expectations as well as my own.
The most common conversation starter for me seems to be ‘I’m so busy, I need some marketing’. My reaction used to be ‘Yay, here’s a chance for some work.’ We’d then discuss how I could help. They’d get excited because they liked what they heard. I’d get excited at the prospect of new work even though it wasn’t my area of specialism.
I should have stopped the conversation right there and asked them about the problems they were facing in their business and not the problems they were having due to the lack of marketing activity. Because usually, marketing is the least of their worries. It typically turns out to be a lack of resource, unexpected demand on their time due to a large order/project, family demands … you get the picture.
For small business owners, this busy-ness is often the result of operating reactively rather than operating proactively. We all need to earn a living and don’t feel like we can turn down work. Of course, this is understandable when starting a new venture. However, if your business continues to operate this way, when do you find the time to work on your business rather than in it?
When was the last time you referred to your business plan? Do you have a business plan? (Hmm, maybe that’s a topic for a future blog!)
So, do you need an investor, a mediator or a magician? My guess is you need someone who will help you align your marketing strategy with your business plan – and that would be a Marketer.
Here are a few things for you to consider before you start your marketing activity.
Embarking on marketing activity without a clear vision or strategy will result in wasted time and money.
Often business owners believe that marketing is simply social media posts, videos, emails, blogs or podcasts. Wanting quick results, they jump straight into specific activity without taking the time to think about what it is they want to achieve.
There are many considerations when approaching marketing for your business which shouldn’t be taken lightly or skipped over.
1. What are the long-term goals for your business? Your long-term goals should align with your business vision and are intrinsically linked to the reason you started your business – your ‘Why’.
What makes you spring out of bed every morning (apart from the kids/cat/dog/husband screaming to be fed!)?
What is motivating you? Have you asked yourself “Why am I doing what I do?” or has being so busy in your business meant that you’ve forgotten why you do what you do? If you don’t know your Why, how will your customers or clients? In business, it doesn't matter what you do, it matters WHY you do it. (Recommended reading alert, Simon Sinek, Start With Why).
Think about the direction you want your business to go in. Maybe it includes a new market you want to serve, or a new product you want to take to market. Whatever it is, it should make you feel excited and hopeful for the future of your business. What’s motivating you.
2. What is your strategy to implement your long-term goals?
Your strategy should be your medium-term goals – the steps you need to take to achieve your business vision. Be as specific as possible here and set targets or percentages to really focus the mind to come up with inspired ideas you can implement.
3. What methods will you use to deliver your strategy?
To achieve 1 and 2, you need to take action. Your short-term goals are the specific actions needed to deliver your strategy. Remember the 4 Ps of Marketing – Price, Product (or service), Place and Promotion. It’s very tempting to jump straight into promotion (social media, blogs, etc.). When people say they need to do some marketing, what they usually mean is jumping on the social media bandwagon without putting thought into their why, where and how.
Embarking on marketing activity without adequate resource will result in lack of consistency and very little engagement.
Pat yourself on the back if you have a clear vision for your business and high fives all round if your strategy and communication methods are in place.
But have you factored in how you are going to find the time to write content and schedule regular social media posts? Engagement is key so it’s vital to respond to comments and enquiries. That’s the ‘social’ bit of social media! Imagine having a stand at an exhibition and ignoring anybody who came to speak to you? That’s what you’re doing if you not engaging with your online audience.
Just in the same way as you might outsource or employ people to carry out your finance, IT and HR functions, you should seriously consider how and/or who will complete your marketing tasks. Even if you’re outsourcing your activity, you still need to be available to provide updates on your latest business news. This in itself can be time consuming and may require you providing updates, project information, visuals, sign off … the list goes on.
For the sake of your sanity and the success of your business, be honest – have you really got the energy or resource to manage your marketing activity consistently AND to engage fully with your audience? If not, either hang on until you are ready or employ someone who can.
Ronnie Harris, VJH Marketing
Thanks so much Ronnie! Such great advice!
To find out more about Ronnie's marketing services head over to her website where you can also check out more of her marketing advice and tips.
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