One of the biggest mistakes new businesses make involves marketing and advertising the business. They either do too much, too little, the wrong type, or stop too soon when results are being seen or when cash gets tight. The adage “You have to spend money to make money” is true. If your prospects (note I didn’t say customers) don’t know you exist, then you have to do a lot of cold calling and prospecting to uncover them. In the long run, the lack of investment in the marketing, sales, public relations, and business development will cost you more money than you “saved”.

Every business differs in how it needs to market itself. Yes, there are commonalities and variations on the theme, but marketing, sales, and all the other aspects of getting your prospects through the proverbial door and writing a check isn’t a one-size-fits-all or even one-size-fits-most. Instead, each business needs to undertake a strategic look at the key elements and options that are available to all.

This is probably a good time to clarify the differences between various “marketing” activities businesses frequently view as interchangeable or whose definitions are limited by scope of experience and exposure:

  • Business development
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Press releases
  • Awards
  • Stories/PR Pieces
  • Expert quotes
  • Articles
  • Panels
  • Speaking engagements
  • Sponsorships
  • Sales

The list is certainly not all inclusive and is too long to go into substantial detail on each item. If the list is restructured, however, you will begin to see more of the nuances.

  • Business Development
    • Sponsorships
    • Events and Meetings
    • Memberships
  • Marketing
    • Articles
    • Panels
    • Speaking engagements
    • Expert quotes
  • Advertising
  • Sales
  • Public Relations
    • Press releases
    • Awards
    • Stories/PR pieces

Regroup them again into business development, marketing, and sales activities and create yet another perspective on your investment. Each type of activity adds a dimension to your business’ potential. No two businesses use exactly the same equation to generate market presence and sales. Each business has different combinations of expertise, experience, products, services, capacity, and so on. What is “universal” is that once started, it takes a commitment to execution and time to reap a return on the investment.

Furthermore, once you begin seeing leads, prospects, and customers coming in the door as a result of your marketing activity, don’t stop spending. You have to sustain the momentum of your programs with on-going investment. You may need to change the mix. You may adjust the budget up or down to recognize new information. But you don’t want to stop reaching your target customers and prospects.

Wise spending on your marketing efforts is an important part of generating revenues. You don’t have to buy an ad on every radio or TV station in the area. You don’t have to blanket the print outlets with full page ads and flyers. You do have to make selective investments toward generating qualified prospects and getting them in the door to buy.

Cutting costs – those that aren’t contributing to revenues, capacity, or activities that impact profits – may be necessary. Eliminating marketing, business development, and sales efforts to “save money” may cost you more money in the long run. Invest in growing the business. Conserve on the business expenditures that don’t impact your ability to generate revenues and serve your customers. Keep the business growing and going with sound investment in marketing, business development, and sales activities and the cash will start flowing.

 

Copyright ©2006 Lea A. Strickland, F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

 

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