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Edition 161 – Who Are You?

No, we’re not talking about the classic 1978 song and album from The Who this week, though I have to admit, this is one of my favourites from them (but doesn’t top “Won’t Get Fooled Again”).

Today’s edition of Growth is all about the number one business issue today. In every family business I walk into, whether or not I work with them, I see it. That issue is marketing.

When cash gets tight or profits are down, most family business owners and their advisors tend to think of it in financial or operational terms. That may be the problem on the surface, but dig deeper and marketing is almost always the root cause.

Here’s what I see inside family businesses, almost daily:

  1. A complete lack of marketing – to the point where departed clients are not replaced by new ones, simply as a result of the fact that nothing has been cultivated in the intervening period.
  2. Poor marketing focus – there is a huge focus on websites and building your web presence. However, in a lot of ways, this focus is like it was in the old days on Yellow Pages – everyone has it so we should too. Wrong.
  3. Not knowing your market – ask a family business owner who their ideal client is and most people either can’t articulate it or simply don’t know.
  4. Marketing to the wrong people – which is a flow on of not knowing your market.
  5. Marketing the wrong product to your market – which sometimes is not knowing the market you are chasing and others it’s not knowing the right channel with which to target your ideal client.
  6. No follow through or constant contact – for nothing other than pure laziness.
  7. Relying on one method of marketing rather than multiple – usually as a result of people getting caught up in the day to day, rather than sitting down and planning what their marketing approach should be.
  8. Product or service redundancy – if revenues are flatlining, most people don’t ask questions. That’s plain stupid as, in my opinion, flat revenues are not actually flat – they are diminishing and your clients are only purchasing out of habit or grudge.
  9. Not testing what marketing works for you – it never ceases to amaze me how many people fuss about building their website, then never monitor the activity it generates. My great website advisors update me weekly with analytics.
  10. Not being bold enough – to try marketing mechanisms that have never been tried before – sometimes due to lack of knowledge, but mostly due to what others will think (strange, but true).

In my opinion, unless you can define:

  1. Your ideal client; and,
  2. The benefit or return your ideal client will have from engaging with your business.

then any number of websites, Facebook posts, Linked In articles, direct mail campaigns or radio advertisements will come to nothing because you’re focussing on methodology and not on the client.

This week’s challenge is to take a close look at your marketing and ask yourself, “what’s in it for them?” You might find that your potential market won’t be asking “who are you?” but exclaiming “I need you” (with thanks to the 70’s folk rock band, America).

It’s not a cashflow issue or a profit issue – it’s a marketing issue – Phil Symchych.