Where does improving the results from your advertising, sales and marketing rank on your company’s “bucket list”? If it’s not one of your top priorities for this year and beyond, then you are putting the business at risk!
The first words I hear from business owners in this challenging economy are “I don’t have any money to invest in marketing the business right now”. And my standard response has become… well then, should we start talking about an exit strategy? The bottom-line is this, if you are not investing in advertising, sales and marketing to grow the business, then in all likelihood your business will not be successful.
If you are one of those business owners who is peering out the window expecting Jack to come sliding down the bean stalk with those magic beans to turn everything around for you, well guess what… it’s over. Just turn out the lights, lock the door and put the For Sale sign in the window, because Jack’s not coming! Or, you could try another approach, and chart a new direction for the business that could lead to future success and profits.
In Sales 101 you learn to “change the ground rules” when you are in a loss position. The same holds true for the business as a whole. Jack Welch was a master at changing things up when he was Chairman and CEO of General Electric. Mr. Welch and his leadership team constantly sought out ways to improve the operational performance of GE’s varied business units. And GE has often made major organizational changes when business performance was at a high point, in order to continue to produce record sales and profits each year.
LGI Homes in Houston is another great example of how successful companies creatively market their businesses. LGI Homes is one of the few home builders in the U.S. that has grown its sales and revenues every year since 2002, despite the economy’s fluctuations. When the home building industry started taking a nose dive in 2007, LGI’s management team charted a new direction for the company and doubled its marketing budget in order to stay ahead of the competition. The end result… record home sales, despite the worst economic climate in decades!
If your business is struggling to make a turnaround in this economy, here are some ideas for you to should consider to help get things headed in the right direction:
1. Host a brainstorming session. Get your team together with some outside experts to come up with creative ideas and action plans to help “jump start” the business.
2. Revisit your books. Take a look back at your past successes and failures. Find a way to build on what has worked in the past, and try to limit the missteps going forward.
3. Toss out those activities, advertising campaigns, promotions, etc. that are broken or have exceeded their “shelf life”. Focus your time, energy and resources on the new programs and initiatives to improve results.
4. Experiment on all fronts – change up your headlines, ads and marketing messages to see what sticks and what doesn’t with your prospects and current customers.
5. Make marketing the business your top (and only) priority for the next 90 days, and see what changes occur.
6. Measure and track the results and shift resources and budget dollars into the areas that deliver the greatest return to the business.
The next time you consider cutting your advertising, sales and marketing budget when things get tough, stop yourself, and do the opposite. Put more emphasis (and dollars) into marketing the business, and make it your top priority. It will help reinvigorate your team, and help keep the business on the fast track to future prosperity and growth.