Times are tough and many businesses must focus their time and resources on the most critical parts of operating such as simply staying open and making payroll.
When in this position, business owners often find themselves forced to put their marketing efforts at the bottom of their list or not even on the list at all. And yes, that would seem to be the logical conclusion at first glance. However, that ends up being the worst thing that can be done as it is at those times that you need the increase in sales that only marketing can give you.
As a general rule, the money you invest in marketing should yield a 2-3 times return on that investment. So you can’t look at marketing as a cost, but an instrumental sales driver. Just like having a telephone is a critical part of any business, a business owner must consider marketing in the same light – as essential.
To help really understand marketing’s role in your business, look at it as the gasoline that fuels your car. You can have the best car in the world, that is fast, has all the extras and is spectacularly beautiful, but without gas to make it go, it defeats the purpose.
When a company decreases or even stops their marketing efforts, the result is inevitable but it may not be seen for the first few weeks or even months creating the illusion that cutting out marketing is not effecting sales… until it is too late. With marketing, there is a lag both at the beginning and at the end. When you start, it takes time for it to build up and to show significant results, and if you stop your activities, it takes a while for it to ramp down. A seasoned businessperson is aware of this lag, but others are not putting them at risk for not recognizing actual causes and effects.
By slowing or stopping marketing, you create the downward spiral that gets tough to get out of. Not only does it decrease awareness to your existing and potentially new customers, but it gives your competitors a great opportunity to steal your customers which once they do, it is hard to get customers back. Your competitors are not stopping their marketing and they may even be increasing it. So you have to be constantly on guard and vigilant with your marketing.
Which brings us back to our central question – to market or not to market? The answer: never stop marketing your business no matter what it takes. We will talk about creative ways to market on a budget to help you get out of your financial crunch, but it is going to take marketing to get you ahead in the first place. So hang in there. Market like crazy and grow your business.