are you working ON your business?

Working on your marketing strategy vs. marketing tactics

are you working ON your business?

I’ve blogged about how important it is to have a marketing strategy in the marine industry but not about how important it is to have a marketing strategy no matter what industry you’re in!

The importance of working “on” your business vs. “in” your business was drilled home to me recently in a conversation with a new client.

Like many others, he’s been very busy with many marketing efforts and campaigns, but they aren’t generating the results he wants.

I asked him what his business goals were, and we started with specifics, such as increasing revenues. As we chatted about this he went deeper and shared his ultimate goals – where he sees his business in a few years. This was very revealing and quite different from what we had discussed earlier.

This shift also changed the entire focus of our conversation about marketing. Why? Because once he told me where he wanted his business to go, I saw what we needed to do to get him there. And it had nothing to do with “tactics,” but instead it focused on setting up the business itself so that it could grow to where he wants it to be.

As we looked at his marketing from that new vantage point, he saw for himself that many of the campaigns and activities he was doing were not going to get him where he wants the business to be. In fact, many were either a distraction or, more importantly, pulling revenues (and his time) away from his ultimate goal.

Here’s an example of how this can work in a B2B (business-to-business) setting. I’ve seen clients who have been told they need to “be everywhere” in social media, so they have active accounts on many channels. But what they are doing on these accounts is putting out messages – like putting up billboards on the highway- and not engaging with people or starting relationships; rather they are using social media as another channel to “talk at” prospective clients.

This is not the best use of social media – nor is it the best use of their resources (time, money and people). Why? For many reasons, ranging from what people expect of businesses on social media – people don’t like to be lectured to or “talked at,” to the effectiveness of all these channels at generating leads or revenues. If they are done poorly, they shouldn’t be done at all.

What I find, most of the time, is that when I talk to an owner or senior executive about their business goals, and then look at that their marketing activity, it’s not at all aligned. And that’s why they’re spending money on marketing and not getting the results they want.

Ultimately, it’s important to look at your business from above – working “on” the business – and then make sure that all your marketing is pointing towards that goal. Want to grow your business 10x in the next few years? You’ll have one marketing strategy. Want to sell off your business in three years? You may have another, very different marketing strategy.

Without taking a step back and looking at the over-arching goals of your business – and then creating a marketing strategy to help you reach those goals – you’ll end up being very busy “doing marketing” and not getting where you want to be.

Does this sound like a problem you have? Or someone you know? Give me a call at 203.521.1752 or send me an email and let’s talk about it!

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