How complex is your Marketing?

Why you need multiple strands to your marketing plan

do you have a marketing plan

Developing a marketing plan for your business takes time. It takes you away from generating cash through delivering for your clients. Now I’m asking you to do it multiple times! Read more

Can your marketing protect you from Brexit?

Brexit

March 29th is just 7 months away. Based on the current situation, there is no Brexit deal and it doesn’t look like there will be one anytime soon. Most experts believe the Chequers Proposal (at least in its current form) to be unworkable, so nobody really knows what is going to happen.

So how are you going to protect your business from Brexit? Can your marketing protect you from Brexit?

The simple answer is Don’t Know.

The less simple answer starts with “It depends” and it is from here that I believe you need to start.

Positive Outcome

There is a chance (you can determine how much) that Brexit won’t be a problem and we will all continue trading as we have done. If this happens, how are you going to maximise the opportunities?

Less than Positive Outcome

The simple truth is that nobody knows what is going to happen. The world isn’t going to fall apart and planes will continue to fly, so the absolutely worst thing you can do for your business at this point is baton down the hatches and pray. You need to have a plan. The question is: how do you plan for something where you have (and indeed most people have) no idea what is going to happen?

Plan for the Worst. Pray for the Best

There are many versions of this statement, with Denis Waitley adding “prepare to be surprised”. This combination of planning and hoping is certainly better it happening the other way around.  If you plan for the best and then the worst happens, you are in serious trouble.

So what does this look like for your marketing?

What does the Worst Look Like?

The worst is that all your clients leave and nobody wants to use your services, or buy your products, anymore.  This is highly unlikely to happen all at once, so here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What costs can you cut from the business to stay alive?
  2. What is the absolute minimum revenue levels you can cope with?

Now we’ve got the Armageddon questions out the way, let’s look at how you can combat a worst case scenario.

Don’t cut what everyone else does

In a recession, most companies cut the budgets on the two areas they really shouldn’t: training and marketing.

Assuming you are selling something that really isn’t a luxury, there should always be clients for you. If you cut your marketing budget, those prospective clients won’t know you exist and so cannot buy from you.  If you cut your training budget, your staff won’t have the skills to deliver on your promises. This can impact the quality of service and your ability to keep your current clients.

If Brexit does lead to a recession, it’s best that you follow the rules of marketing in a recession.

10 Brexit marketing tips:

  1. Don’t Panic: things may become difficult but if you’re careful, you will minimise the pain
  2. Cut the right costs: we’ve discussed training and marketing, but if you must cut some marketing costs, make sure they are the right ones: the costs that aren’t delivering a positive ROI. Do you know what marketing is working and what isn’t? Click here for some assistance.
  3. Keep Communicating: recessions are distracting and make people forget. If you aren’t maintaining communication with your network, clients and target audiences, they can quickly forget about you. If they forget about you, they cannot buy from you. There are huge amounts of research out there that shows those who cut spend in this area take much longer to recover.
  4. Maintain brand awareness: keep talking about what makes your business so good and the value you provide to your clients. When times are tough, value is a strong driver when prospects are considering a new supplier.
  5. Share your evidence: we all use peer reviews when considering purchases, so use this within your business. To share relevant case studies and testimonials with your prospects, you need to keep producing more evidence.
  6. Focus: convincing prospects to buy takes time and can take longer when times are tougher. If you’re chasing too wide an audience, you risk wasting lots of time on leads that will never convert. By focusing your marketing on those you can really deliver for, you maximise your marketing ROI.
  7. Keep an eye on your competitors: if they cut their marketing budget, take advantage of their mistake and keep talking. Let your target audience forget about your competitors and keep reminding them of the value you deliver.
  8. Support your channels: if you sell through resellers, help them to sell your products and services. This way, you are continuously reminding them you exist and can help their clients. They will sell more for those who help them.
  9. Build your network: if you are quieter, use that time to build for the future. Building relationships takes time, so meet new people, get to know them and help them when you can. They will return the favour.
  10. Retention generates referrals: really look after your clients and then ask them for referrals. We discussed reviews earlier and what better review is there when a client recommends you to one of their network. When is the best time to ask for a referral? Click here to find out.

If these ten tips will help you in a recession, they will help you combat Brexit. There is a real risk that Brexit will create another recession in the UK, at least for a couple of years. If it does, and you’re prepared, you can fight your way through and come out the other side.  If it doesn’t, you will be in great shape to capitalise.

We hope this helps.

Click here for help with your Brexit Marketing.

Does your marketing support your business goals?

You have goals for your business.

You may want to sell your business in five years’ time. Perhaps you want to keep growing, simply to see how big you can get. Whatever your goal, you have to have a marketing strategy that supports your business goals. Let’s look at whether your marketing will support your goals.

Are your goals SMART?

You will, almost certainly, have heard that goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed. Using this definition, let’s look at the two suggestions I made above.

You want to sell your business for £3million in five years’ time

  • Specific: you have an action and a value.
  • Measurable: you can track the value of your business to see how close you are getting to your desired valuation.
  • Achievable: Five years is a good amount of time to grow to a valuation of £3mill
  • Relevant: of course, it’s your desire
  • Timed: In five years, you will know whether you’ve achieved your goal

You want to keep growing and see how big you can get.

  • Specific: No
  • Measurable: you can track how big you get
  • Achievable: with no target, how can you say whether you’ve achieved
  • Relevant: suppose so, sort of
  • Timed: No

What’s the point of having a goal that you cannot assess yourself against? How will you know if you’ve been successful?

What should you be Budgeting for growth?

If you spent £10,000 on marketing your business last year and you added £100,000 to your top line last year, but you want to grow by £400,000 this year, what should you spend?

There are two easy answers to this question and one more complex:

  1. Not £10,000
  2. Four times as much to get four times the growth

Or

  1. Let’s look at what worked from the £10,000 and what didn’t. We then stop spending money on things that didn’t work, spend more on what did work and then look at other marketing activities that may work.

Of course, the last answer makes things complicated, but it is far more likely to deliver the increased growth you are looking for.

Do you have enough Resource?

As your business grows, you add to the team in a number of ways:

Delivery Capability

Almost certainly you add delivery resource so that you have the capability to deliver what is needed to generate the growth.

Admin?

You may not need to add administrative support, but all those extra invoices have to be sent somehow. If you make a product, you need to source more raw material, but that may simply be making the number bigger on the PO.

Sales & Marketing

There are two issues with your marketing:

  1. What marketing are you going to do?

The biggest issue is how are you going to find all the sales opportunities you need to achieve your business goals. Your options are:

  • Your current clients buy more of what they are already buying
  • You sell other products/services to your current clients
  • You sell your current products to more clients
  • You sell new products/services to new clients

For those who enjoy a bit of theory, Ansoff’s Matrix is what you need to Google to read more on this.

Whichever growth strategy you decide on, you need a marketing strategy to deliver those leads:

  • How are you going to persuade your clients to buy more?
  • How are you going to make those clients aware that you have other things they can buy from you?
  • How will you get in front of more people to sell your current products, or new ones?

Your strategy and your marketing plan need to be focused, planned and then delivered effectively – we can help with that bit BTW!!!

2. Who’s going to do your marketing?

Your choices here are:

  • You do it all yourself, perhaps with some external strategic support to ensure you’re maintaining a consistent level of activity.
  • You outsource some of it, particularly for the stuff you don’t have skills in
  • You outsource all of it, with your provider maintaining a good level of communication to keep you up to date on what is happening and what is, and isn’t, working.

So to ensure that your marketing support and delivers on your business goals, you need:

  1. SMART goals
  2. A marketing plan based on what you know has, and hasn’t worked, previously
  3. a budget that matches your business goals
  4. the resources to deliver that plan

We hope this helps.