The first big thing you have to face up to about marketing:
YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO IT
Of course, that isn’t really true. Many companies survive for a long time without doing marketing.
What makes marketing a necessity is ambition.
Do you want to grow your business?
Not everyone does.
Are you happy with how it is doing, without marketing? Some people are, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But if your business isn’t where you want it to be, you are going to have to do something which is often painful, and frequently almost impossible.
YOU’VE GOT TO MARKET.
WHAT MAKES MARKETING HARD?
This is a question with two completely different, but very true answers.
One reason marketing is hard is that you don’t have time to do it. That is a near-universal truth. The typical small businessman, in my experience, is already FAR more than full-time busy just keeping things going.
I knew a contractor who spent all day, every day, supervising crews. He’d leave the crews on their own – briefly and nervously – to go make sales calls. That made about a 50-hour workweek, so far. At night and on weekends he’d write up proposals, solve personnel problems, handle the finances… well you get the idea.
When is this poor soul supposed to work on marketing?
I know that is a very common situation with small business owners. One reason I know this is because of the difficulty we often have getting their websites completed. The client is paying good money to get a new website so they can get more business. That money is going for us to do as much of the job as possible. But there are things we can’t do for him, like digging up photos of past jobs.
A website can drag on for months or even years, just because the guy doesn’t have a 25-hour day with which to get everything done.
There are only two possible solutions to this. He either has to get help, or he’s got to somehow get it done anyway.
Because he’s got to market, and he knows it.
Another guy I know goes on frequent vacations with his family, all over the world, luxury vacations. Living the good life, right? He spends most of his vacation time on the phone talking to past customers and working deals. He’s got to market, he knows it, and he does what he has to do to make it happen and give his family the good life.
Running a small business is not for the weak-minded or faint of heart. I’m not trying to tell you owning a small business is a bum deal. But it’s not for the lazy, it’s for those who enjoy the stresses and challenges and the rewards they earn from living up to them.
WHY MARKETING IS HARD – PART 2
The second reason marketing is hard is because, well, it’s hard.
I mean hard in the same sense understanding Einstein’s equations is hard.
Successful marketing does not occur by casually whipping up an idea and “voila!” – instant success.
Of course, this begs the question: Why not?
Let me give you a short and a long answer to that one.
Short answer: If marketing were easy, everyone would be rich. Maybe that strikes you as silly, but it’s true, and since everyone isn’t rich, marketing must be hard.
But that still begs the question.
SO, WHY IS MARKETING HARD?
So, Rich, you say, will you tell us already why marketing is hard?
Let me get down to the nitty-gritty on this. Marketing is the bridge between buyers and sellers. You can have the greatest product in the world if no one ever heard of it – you got nothing. The old saw, “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” is simply not true.
In a fundamental way, this has to do with the law of supply and demand. The more demand and the less supply, the more expensive or scarcer the item is.
Let’s examine one end of this equation: the person you want to sell to. It doesn’t matter if it is an individual consumer or a business. It doesn’t matter whether it is a poor person or a rich one, a small company or a giant corporation.
There are ALWAYS more people wanting to sell to that person or company than that person has money, time, and interest.
Let me ask you a question. How many communications do you get in a day trying to sell you something? A lot, right? Do you examine all of them to see if you’d maybe like to buy them? No one has the time to do that! I know, I can hit the delete key faster than anyone in my neighborhood.
The only way to systematically overcome that scarcity of time is to have a way of marketing that gets the attention of the person you are trying to reach.
And let me tell you, that requires skilled marketing, lots of money, or both. Billions of dollars are spent every year trying to come up with a new way of doing just that.
INTEREST AND MONEY
Now let’s suppose that by luck or talent, you get the attention of that person with your product or service. Are they interested? Is it something they need or want?
Again, this takes skilled marketing. If you don’t understand what is going on inside the heads of your prospective customers, you aren’t going to get anywhere with it.
And believe me, you can’t just ask them. The world’s first great marketing, Claude C. Hopkins (around 1900) said he was able to sell to the common man because he was one. If you aren’t who you are trying to sell to, you’ve got your next big challenge.
And there is still that final barrier: MONEY. Maybe Joe just can’t afford that new BMW he’d like to own.
A SKILLED PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITY
I don’t believe most people think of marketing as a profession, or professional, skilled activity. Not in the sense that designing a bridge or doing a tax return is. Of course, marketing isn’t close to an exact science.
The fact is, there is a lot of know-how to marketing. It’s not all just hype. You can get the impression because there are lots of hucksters out there calling themselves marketers and trying to make it by tricking the poor rubes.
Like becoming an engineer, it takes years of study and hard-won experience to become an effective marketer. If you’re doing it just for your own business, it’s a bit easier because you only have to come up with one way of marketing for one business, that really works.
If you need help, and you can find someone who is competent, and whose help you can afford, you’re in luck. Cherish them.
You gotta market, and it takes marketing skills to do it.