Why you don’t need marketing for your business

Let’s start with a simple explanation of what marketing actually is.  Marketing is the process of positioning your product or service in such a way that it is clearly communicated to your consumers why they need or want to purchase it.  This includes market research, word of mouth, and external advertising.  And it’s the same across all marketing mediums- whether that is a brochure, a magazine ad, a billboard, a website, a radio ad, etc.

Now that we’re clear about what it is, here are the reasons you don’t need marketing.

You don’t need marketing just because your friend created a Facebook business page and now it has 100K likes.
Social Media is being used by businesses all over the world, with great results for many.  So it should definitely be an option that is explored by your marketing department.  But if your focus is creating a business page so that you can get a bunch of likes, and not communicating with your audience, then you’ve probably just spent a lot of time and energy on marketing that won’t work.

You don’t need marketing just because an article you read said that your website has to look awesome.
It is true that 80% of consumers research a product or service online before making a purchase.  So if they are brought to your website, it should be an accurate representation of your brand and easy to use.  But if your focus is creating an awesome website and not communicating to your audience, then you’ve probably just spent thousands of dollars on marketing that won’t work.

You don’t need marketing just because you have a product or service that you want to convince people to buy.
If your focus is making people want something, and not creating something people want, then you’ve probably just misunderstood how marketing works.

Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers. – Seth Godin

All too often, I sit down with a business owner and they tell me they need SEO, a website, a Facebook page, a postcard.  And I respond with, “Why do you need ______?”  They usually give me answers just like the ones in bold above.  But these answers have the wrong focus – they are focused on what the business owner wants, rather than what her customers want.  I’ve yet to ask that question and get the response, “Because that is where and how my consumer wants to communicate with me.”

To be successful and grow your business and revenues, you must match the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn about and shop for your products.

— Brian Halligan, Hubspot CEO & co-founder

So that is where we should start.  How and where do my prospects want to learn about and shop for my products?

You don’t need marketing for any of the reasons in bold above.  But you do need marketing to figure out how you can create something that your prospects want and need, and to effectively communicate the value of that product or service to them.

I deliver free marketing consultations as part of my work with Worry Free Consulting. In fact, they have a free marketing analysis service that you can do online. And please contact me if you have any questions at melissa@worryfreeconsulting.com.  

 

 

The Customer: Your Best Salesperson

Aside

A few weeks ago, a coworker was talking about Panda Express and a new shrimp entrée they’ve released.  Lo & behold, another coworker made their way to the fast-Asian Cuisine chain later that day and purchased the very plate he described.  She joked when she got back to the office that Panda Express should be paying him for bringing in business.  I think there’s more truth to that than she realized.

Word of mouth reviews- the organic and real kind- are the most powerful marketing tools your company will never have to buy.  If you are treating customers well and offering relevant and useful products, that is.

Superior service will always trump gimmicks in the long run.  Because after a while, people will see through a gimmick and hear that their friend’s so-and-so company is great at handling issues, or has a more competitive price, or offers better quality.  Tell your funny cat commercials to fix that one.  As Gary Vaynerchuk so bluntly puts it in The Thank You Economy, “people have a pretty good bullshit reader” these days.  In the transparent world of social media marketing, you can’t sell your gimmicks for very long.  You have to sell your brand, your vision, yourself.

Whether it’ patient representative, educational content, consistent & relevant emails to touch base, or whatever else it may be- those will all outrun an entertaining gimmick that in no way represents what your brand stands for.

Let your food/service/product speak for itself.  Chances are, your customers will soon be carrying your message to their friends.

Social media: Bad reviews are better than no reviews at all

Developing a social media community can definitely be an intimidating leap of faith.  Business owners, executives… they can easily be scared away when they weigh the “pros” against the “cons.”  Trust me when I say I’ve fought this fight.

When I was first setting up social media accounts for the insurance company, the same question was posed to me in different ways multiple times:  What if people comment or post negative things about our agency?

As Gary Vaynerchuk so boldly expresses in The Thank-You Economy (paraphrasing here),

Bad reviews are better than no reviews.

If people have negative things to say about your brand, they are going to say them – regardless of whether or not you provide a platform for them to do so.  It would be to your benefit that unsatisfied customers are ranting in a place that you can see it & address it.

I believe that if you are doing business ethically and transparently, you might lose business from a customer that you downright can’t make happy.  But you won’t walk away the bad guy.
Providing a place for people to give honest reviews allows you to hear what your customers like, want, & need.  And here’s the kicker: you can talk back.

“Social Media” isn’t a scary marketing tactic you, as a CEO or business owner, know nothing about.  (Hint: you’ve been doing it for years.)  It’s just communication… with technological advances that enable you to do it in a different (and much broader) way than you’ve ever done before.

Don’t be scared. Jump in!  Remember: your customers are already talking about you.