Are you serious about your marketing? Are you ready to be all in? Are you prepared to go the distance?
These are all questions you should ask yourself before you engage in a marketing program. You should realize that marketing is not an overnight endeavor, but rather a commitment to time, energy, passion and yes, capital investment.
Marketing is much more than just getting your name out there. A true marketing program defines your company. On the path to developing a true marketing program you have to fully define your market, your target customers, and your company. Doing this kind of definition takes a great deal of work and focus, focusing on your own company. Asking yourself hard questions about why you are in business, what markets you serve, what you do best, what kind of customers are the best for you, and a slew of other questions that are easy to ask, but difficult to answer.
To make sure you are ready to undertake a good and effective marketing program, here are some questions you have to ask yourself and your team:
- Are you ready to make a two year commitment? I say two years because that is the minimum it takes for a good marketing program to take hold and be effective. In fact, in many cases, it takes up to five years for your company to become well-known.
- Are you committed to taking part in the program? Like any other project from ISO to Lean, you as the company leader have to …well, lead the way. You have to be the biggest advocate, the loudest cheer leader for the marketing project. If any member of your team even senses, even catches a wisp of the fact that you are not all in, they will just wait for your enthusiasm to fade and the marketing project will just fade away.
- Are you willing to put your company out there? Are you prepared to talk about your company and your capabilities? Marketing is exposing your company and what your company can do. It is not enough to declare that you can do great things, but now you have to tell your marketing audience what they are. What are those great things you can do?
- Are you ready to promote your team members as experts? So often people are nervous, thinking that if they let their team members, especially engineers, and other technical people be highlighted as experts, other companies will chase them down and take them away. Yes, the chances of that happening are far from remote, but then again if you are treating these people as assets, if you are making sure they are happy and satisfied in their position in your company, if you are taking care of them properly, then they will not go away.
- Are you willing to make the financial commitment. A good marketing program takes money. Not as much money as you are imagining it will, but it does take some kind of long term financial commitment on your part. If you are not ready for that, then don’t even get started. If you are considering trying some advertising for a month or three or even six, then don’t bother. Don’t waste your money because unless you are willing to go the distance, you are just throwing it away.
- Are you prepared to take criticism? Are you prepared for that one person in one thousand who says you are sending out too many tech bulletins? Are you prepared for the person who does not like your ad? Are you ready to withstand one of your customers telling you that you should not be advertising? Are you prepared to stand firm when your competitors say that advertising is cheating? It doesn’t matter at all in the end what people say. Nobody liked Mr. Whipple but he sold a heck of a lot of toilet paper. And no matter how much people hate Flo, Progressive is still paying her over a million dollars a year!
- Are you ready to change it up? Are you prepared to change your messaging and advertising and branding as needed? You have to work at making your advertising interesting and engaging at all times. You have to be ready to do whatever it takes.
- Is your sales team prepared to follow up on the leads that your marketing will generate? After all, the purpose of marketing is to generate leads and then turn those leads into gold. But if you have a sales force that is not ready, willing, and yes, eager to follow those leads then you’re wasting your time and money.
- Are you open to all avenues of advertising and branding? That means being ready to check out and adapt to the newest trends in marketing, branding, and social media. You have to do whatever it takes to make your marketing effective. This means not having the privilege of saying you don’t believe in Linkedin or Instagram from onset. You have to be willing to try whatever new development comes along. Some will work well, others not so much, but you have to explore all possibilities.
- And are you creative enough? Are you open minded enough? Are you willing to take some risks? Great advertising is risky, sometimes very risky. The board of directors at Apple were terrified of airing that 1984 Super Bowl ad “1984 will not be like 1984” But they did it, and it became the most famous ad in the history of American, maybe global advertising. Certainly, you will not be asked to take that kind of risk, but the risk you do take might be just as scary.
So, that’s pretty much it. How did you answer these questions? Are you brave enough, committed enough and passionate enough and committed enough to get started on a true and effective campaign? Are you brave enough? If so, then take the plunge, it will rock your world! It’s only common sense.