I walked in the office of a business I had previously had no contact with, unfashionably half an hour early. (Surprisingly not much traffic and being in the middle of industrial suburbia… there were no sneaky cafes to duck in to buy time).
A company, during the meeting, that claimed to not know a lot about marketing.
To be honest I begged to differ.
The moment I walked into that business to the moment I left, I could honestly say that they knew a lot more about marketing then they themselves believed. One person greeted me as I entered the office. Someone made me a coffee. Someone gave me a tour of the premises.
My first impressions was this is a enthusiastic, progressive and warm business. So I wasn’t surprised when they said that once they have a customer, they have them for life.
Everything that makes them who they are is the reason that they have operating and growing a successful business for over thirty years.
Taking all this in ……. then they proceed to tell me they are new to marketing. A statement that I thought couldn’t be further from the truth.
They know their customer, they know their products, they know how to look after their customer, they know the industry inside and out, they know who they are, they know what they are not, they know where they are going, they know people, and they know how to leave a good impression. A solid foundation, to say the least.
A foundation like this, it what makes for good marketing.
Three questions to ascertain the solidity of your foundation (i.e. whether you need to do some work or you can keep building):
- Where do you want to go?
- Who and how are you contributing to a person/group/business/society/the greater good?
- Who are you and what makes you different?
If the responses are not clear, (i.e. a bit scratchy, which is very common and normal), then before jumping into to thinking about social media, email marketing, collaborations, etc, find clarity.
A clear and strong foundations keeps you focused and grounded (helps avoid chasing change for the sake of it). At times, it will require new waterproofing and an upgraded surface. Which is part of the maintenance of ensuring sustainability for both internal (business evolution) and external (market trends) purposes.
Once you have a strong foundation, one that your key stakeholders can stand tall on, then you are in a better position to build to the gaps and opportunities that present themselves or that you create. Which, in this example, was taking a very established business, and communicating what is authentically them to a wider audience (increasing their customer base a lot faster than they could do themselves and keeping a strong consistent presence with their existing customers).
Once this is established, then it’s time to explore what are the most effective channels, communication frequency and, measuring effectiveness, etc. But before you start to think about the what and the how of communicating and/or building customer leads, ask yourself this:
Am I running a sprint or a marathon?
This question has helped our business. A marathon mindset helps you take stock to set yourself up to go the distance, i.e. creating a solid foundation, will help you use time differently (less frantic, less racy, more impactful) and by focusing on the long term, sustainability becomes your driver versus short term gratification or limitations.
At Run Partners we are creating a ‘Run Marketing’ Dashboard, to help our clients and their agency partners ascertain the effectiveness of their marketing activity. It will provide a top-line results overview, that can then be delved into, if more details are required. It will also encompass brand positioning, products/services strategy, content strategy, marketing project management.
This is one of the legs in our marathon, which leads into the reason why we do what we do. Which is to, uncomplicate marketing. To make great marketing more accessible. To educate the wider business, and up and coming marketing professionals on business end of marketing.
Someone very wise (Thank you Peter) recently said to me, a lot companies can become too preoccupied with ‘sprinting’. One sprint after another. Everyone is working to the KPI of having the sprint completed, however, it falls short, when it comes to the follow-through. You can be left with a lot of completed ‘sprints’ per se, and a lot of loose ends that don’t come together. For the reason that either the foundation is not solid or that the all encompassing purpose of the sprint/s don’t plug into the foundation in some shape or form.
Your turn: How does a marathon mindset transfer to how you run your business?
If you have your foundation sorted, then it’s time to consider how you are telling your story. Why we believe we are all in the business of telling story: Every Business is a Story Telling Machine.