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VOL. 36 | NO. 50 | Friday, December 14, 2012
Inherent dangers of self-marketing
When you own or operate a small or mid-sized company, you likely have an innate sense of self-reliance. It’s that desire to get things done on your own that probably got you to where you are today. That same drive to maintain unencumbered control, however, may be inhibiting your growth when it comes to the development and execution of your marketing strategy. While seemingly counterintuitive, here’s why this is often the case.
First, as business owners and operators, it’s almost impossible to have an unbiased perspective on your business, and objectivity is essential to effective marketing. Your strategy should be built on a foundation of market research – understanding what customers and prospects see as your differentiators, how they perceive your service experience, how they see your company stacking up against competitors, and what factors influence their purchase decisions. In conducting your research, your inevitable bias will no doubt influence the results.
Good marketing is part art and part science, and it takes experience to master. In a cluttered marketplace where consumers are inundated with advertising, you need a special kind of creativity to persuade prospects to take action.
Many small to mid-sized companies can’t cost justify the hiring of a seasoned marketing professional. While it may seem like a smart cost-saving measure to manage your marketing, it may be costing you more than you think. Compare cost savings to the opportunity cost – the new business you’re leaving on the table by deploying less-than-effective marketing.
Business owners are most likely to prioritize their time according to their skill set. If you’re a CPA, you’ll naturally gravitate toward financial tasks. Firm marketing is likely to rarely be your priority and will therefore suffer. Being the “best kept secret” in the market won’t keep the checks coming in.
When you’ve “birthed” a company, you can find yourself so close to it that you may find it hard to talk about your differentiators in a concise way. A more objective vantage point is needed to streamline your message, especially for advertising, into a digestible sound byte.
The late founder of IBM, Tom Watson, once said, “Nothing happens until a sale is made.”
Marketing drives sales and is the lifeblood of your organization. You would never hire a dermatologist to conduct heart surgery, so why would you want anything less than a specialist for your business, which is probably near and dear to your heart?
While your unique entrepreneurial talents no doubt serve you well in other areas of your business, don’t let these traits work against you when it comes to growing your company through deployment of an objective, concise, well-planned and executed marketing strategy.
Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com, with offices in Memphis and Nashville. Follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).