It’s an unfortunate truth that, during lean times, a company’s marketing budget is often the first to get slashed to cut costs. Unlike other areas of business, the benefits and profits generated by good marketing are often far less tangible to perceive in an immediate sense.
For example, while the costs inherent in production can be directly offset by the profit generated through sales, the benefits from marketing are nowhere near so immediately obvious.
After all, it’s very easy to calculate the total profit made from production by looking at the cost of the parts then subtracting them from the retail price. This allows a very clear sense of the value of investing in production. Unfortunately, nothing comparable exists to evaluate the worth of marketing.
Marketing as a long-term investment
Unlike many other company costs, in many ways, marketing should probably be viewed as a long-term investment. In most cases, good marketing serves to build a brand, to establish trust, and improve the relationship between customers and clients.
Of course, we all know advertising can generate new business – and these days, it’s even easier to monitor the individual relative success of distinct advertising campaigns – however, marketing tends to work more in the background, generating business in slightly more subtle ways.
As the business world continues to reel from the recent emergence of Coronavirus – and companies struggle to pick themselves back up and get operating again – there is a real danger that many will forsake spending on advertising and marketing in favor of more (apparently) effective investment elsewhere.
While the potential economic benefits of this approach could, of course, seem more immediately beneficial, the long-term consequences of ignoring your promotions and marketing strategy could be disastrous. Just when your company needs to be front and center in the minds of your customers, it effectively disappears. Not the best idea.
In many cases, you can perform reasonably sufficient marketing yourself just by spending a little time updating your website or working on your social media accounts. A little goes a long way these days, and social media has made it easier than ever to connect with clients.
However, if you want to see the most significant benefits from your company’s marketing, you should also consider enlisting the services of a professional agency like Digital Strike – a highly specialized online marketing company.
As is often the case, your choice of going-it-alone or using a professional will probably be determined by budget, however, don’t pass over the idea of going to a professional to see the best results. It’s no coincidence marketing is considered an industry sector in itself, and professional agencies have knowledge and skills you simply won’t find other places.
Marketing to build new business
With so many companies now struggling to compete in ever-decreasing markets, it could be argued company promotions are more relevant today than at any other time – to help differentiate companies from one another and bring a competitive edge.
One of the critical ways marketing helps to build new business is by promoting your company and putting it in the minds of potential clients. This can be through advertising, through PR, through social media interaction, or even just simple email shots sent out to your mailing lists. By providing regularly updated information, you keep connections more reliable to your clients.
However, you do it, the key is to bring attention to your company and make it the first choice to work with.
Marketing to build existing client relationships
Another primary goal of marketing is to help companies build and strengthen relationships with their clients. This is perhaps more important now than ever as we witness never-before-seen contractions in sectors and economies across the board.
Right now, businesses should be looking to retain existing relationships and making them healthier to give a sound platform for seeing out the next few difficult months – perhaps years. Engaging with your existing client base through marketing is a great way to remind them of the work you already did together or the products you already provided.
Marketing to maintain your company reputation
Most companies operate to some degree on brand reputation – or brand equity as another way of putting it. Your reputation is golden and, in many cases, supersedes any amount of advertising or promotion you might do. Let’s put it this way – a good reputation is hard to build – but a bad reputation is almost impossible to shake.
The old saying goes, “You’re only as good as your last job”, – and this replies equally to your reputation. Through regular marketing and maintaining contact with clients, your company will be seen as proactive, friendly, and approachable.
Marketing to keep your company relevant
Complacency in any relationship is never a good thing – and business is the same. While it’s often easy to just presume your existing clients will be there forever, the opposite is more the case, and you can be sure your customers are approached regularly by competitor companies looking to steal your business.
Just as you actively promote your company, you can be sure your competitors do as well. Effective marketing serves to keep your company relevant and at the forefront of your clients’ minds making them far less likely to jump ship to your competitors.
Marketing to inform
It’s easy just to think of marketing as an advertising exercise however if you look at it in the fuller picture, it can be an advantageous and subtle way to inform and promote what your company has been doing – e.g., the new projects it’s been involved in, the new products it has in development, etc.
Marketing doesn’t have to be (nor should it be) just cold, hard sales. Rather it is a perfect opportunity to inform clients subtly of your expertise or knowledge, in particular, specialist areas. A great example of this is by running a weblog (or “blog” as they’re more commonly known).
Blogs can be an excellent vehicle for sharing articles on specialized subjects or skills your company might have, e.g., challenging contracts you’ve worked on or specific products you’ve developed to offer solutions to a particular problem.
By the very nature of a blog, articles appear far less pushy and less sales-oriented. Blogs also have a significant advantage that they will push your website prominence and improve your search engine rankings.
Determining your marketing budget
Although there are no hard and fast rules for working out how much you should spend on your marketing – and figures vary enormously from company to company – as a general rule, it’s estimated new starts should look at spending between 12% and 20% of their turnover on marketing in their first five years.
More established companies can reduce it to around 6% to 12% – due mainly to already being more established.