Me:  Why the big marketing campaign?
Client:  We need to grow our business …we’re doing social, we’re networking, we’re sending out offers our customers/clients can’t refuse … we’re pulling out all the stops on this one
Me:  What’s the end result you’re looking for?
Client:  We want more sales.
Me: if “marketing” is the answer to “how are we going to grow our sales” you need to know that that’s the hard and expensive way of doing it, unless you know why and what the best (as in most effective and least expensive) tools are to get the job done… and quite often, surprisingly enough, the cheapest/easiest way to do this is through internal systems geared to get more bang for the buck (read: profits).  Here are some things to think about before you start putting your dollars on the line …

Do you want more sales, or bigger profit (because that’s an internal thing – processes and systems – and doesn’t eat up as many resources, in other words, no expense incurred on growing profit margins)

Do you have all the business from every one of your clients and customers that you can possibly get (have they bought your entire array of products/services) – again, no expense, just good after-the-sale processes and follow up systems.

Are your clients trained to refer quality business to you (and are you growing from those quality referrals) – expensive?  Quite often the cost of a cup of coffee, or a lunch (and you’ll get to enjoy it too).

See where I’m going here?  Until you’ve set up your business to deliver the level of excellence to your clients that will lead them to trust you with all their business, and they’re so excited that they’ve become part of your growth plan, funnelling referrals your way,  “marketing” may well be the horse in front of the cart.  Maximize what you’ve already got before you start investing time and money into expansion marketing.

GROWTH vs. EXPANSION

Internal “growth systems”  increase profit margins, whereas “marketing” increases expenses before you realize growth.

The three questions you need to answer BEFORE you start a marketing campaign (assuming that you’ve maxed out your current database):

1 ) Are you looking to penetrate the market you’re in (in other words, you still have more sales you can get from your marketplace … you need more of your market share)

2 ) Do you want to saturate your marketplace – your market share and someone else’s –  (prospects say “you mean there’s other companies that do what you do … who knew?”)

3 ) Do you want to expand your reach (but why would you until you’ve got all the business you can possibly get right here at home, because now you’re getting into franchised or “managed” corporate expansions … and that is hellishly pricey … and only something you would want to undertake with airtight systems in place, because you want to replicate your brand success.

The moral of the story is this: before you reach for those “bright shiny marketing objects”, or head for “ready, fire, aim’ (or even worse, fire, fire, fire) stop and think about your purpose for marketing.  90% of the time, tightening your systems (or having systems in the first place) is the answer.  The “obvious” is rarely the answer.