What comes first, marketing or sales is like the chicken or egg conversation! It’s an interesting conundrum because you need sales to sustain a business and without marketing of some description you won’t get any sales! The lack of leads is one of the biggest reasons small businesses fail in the first five years
“These babies will sell themselves….” a sentence that has become synonymous with salespeople on cheesy TV shows and crap comedies. The truth is, nothing really sells itself. Are your products flying off the shelves because of a hugely discounted price? – you would have had to advertise that somehow, or how would anyone know? Overwhelmed with work because you’re providing a service that no one else in the area is? Has what you’re selling suddenly become the ‘must-have’ gift? Finding it hard to keep up with demand?
These things don’t just happen. It’s all down to good marketing. You just think how many products you’ve bought over the years because of clever marketing – a catchy advertising jingle here, a cute mascot there – and now the internet, social media and viral adverts are a thing, chances are that slick marketing campaigns are making you part with your hard earned cash every day without even realising it.
As a business owner, if someone asked you what’s the most important thing to you ; you’d probably say, ‘sales’ – they’re vital for your business survival after all – but if you don’t put your energy into marketing first, you’re not going to see those sales increase half as much as you want.
Why is marketing so important?
Before you launched your business, you will have done your research and found out exactly what it is that your customers want, and once you’ve given it to them, over time they will come to trust in your product – maybe even write a flattering review online and tell all their friends and family! – all of this is down to marketing. The way you market your business will determine whether or not it becomes successful, and is a useful tool in creating a good reputation, making you relevant, and ensuring your product is in demand.
Without marketing, your sales would certainly be lacking – so here’s why it has to come first:
Marketing Keeps The Conversation Flowing
Social media is one of your greatest assets when it comes to engaging with your customers – it’s not enough to simply push your products, you need to make sure that people have all the information about your business, and that you tell them in a way that is interesting so that they feel it’s worth taking the time to listen to. The important thing is to keep your content fresh in order to engage your customer base – short videos (particularly if they have an element of humour) – are a good way to do this and give potential customers a sense of belonging.
If you’re constantly engaging and talking to your customers – and marketing to them this way – they’re more likely to talk about you to someone else, and so on and so forth – which will increase your sales. It’s simple cause and effect.
If you don’t like social media let me reframe it for you…. Instead of calling it “Social Media” try calling it “FREE ADVERTISING!”
Marketing Will Grow Your Reputation
As I’ve already said, marketing is a useful tool in creating a good reputation – which directly affects the growth and life span of your business. Marketing activities are largely about building a brand; the reputation follows when your business meets its customers expectations – which of course you want to do – otherwise the marketing would be an expensive waste of your time and effort.
You want your customers to want to be associated with your products – whether that be because it’s the latest ‘must have’ or status symbol, or because you have a particular set of ethics or message related to your business – it is marketing that will make people want what you have.
Marketing Helps You Stay Relevant
A good business person will constantly be finding ways to ensure that it’s their brand that comes to mind once the relevant product is mentioned; you know how it works; what comes to mind when I say, coffee shop? or, High street burger chain? (Starbucks and McDonalds – am I right?)…..But never just assume that because a customer has never raised an issue that you and keeps coming back that you will always remain their favourite brand – this is not a good mindset to get into!
As with all relationships, you’ll need to work hard to maintain a good relationship with your customers – and that’s where marketing comes in. You need to always be striving to keep the customers you have before you focus on gaining new ones.
Speaking of which…
Marketing Helps You Build A Relationship With Customers
Your market research is what will tell you how your business can meet the needs of its customers – and once you’ve cracked that, you need to ensure that your business delivers what you’ve promised, at the right time. That’s how you gain the trust of your customers and make them brand-loyal.
One you’ve built this trust and loyalty – all through marketing – your customers will have the confidence to buy more products from you, even if it’s not something they’ve purchased from you before. Another example of marketing leading to sales.
Marketing Keeps Your Customers Informed
Without marketing how are your customers going to know about the products and services you’re offering?
Marketing lets people know what you’ve got, what it does, how it will benefit them, and why they need it. It creates brand awareness and will make your business stand out. There’s a lot of competition out there, so you need to make sure that the voice of your business is constantly heard.
Marketing Can Help Your Business To Grow
Of course, once you are doing everything you can to maintain your current client base, it is time to focus on gaining new customers. This will give you the scope to develop as a brand and a business and maybe even expand into other areas.
Marketing is essential to reach new audiences before you can get new sales!
Marketing Can Beat The Competition
It’s highly unlikely that you’re offering a product or service that is totally unique – someone, somewhere, will be your business competitor and, as they say, a little competition is healthy.
In order to market effectively against a competitor, you’ll need to find ways to deliver better products and services, and, if you’re offering something new to the market, it will be even more important to market strategically.
Marketing Makes Sales
The main reason marketing has to come before sales is because it is marketing that creates sales in the first place – so it makes total sense to concentrate on marketing before anything else. After all, you can’t sell anything if no one knows what you’re selling! Even if you happen to have an actual shop in a busy area – your walk-in business will be minimal compared to what it would be if you had a good marketing plan.
An email campaign letting customers know about your latest line, or social media posts about an upcoming sale are examples of the types of marketing strategies you can use to build awareness of your brand, and make sales.
Once you’ve advertised your product or service, it is out there on the radar, and if you’ve marketed it well, and you’ve done your market research, it should start to trigger some purchase decisions! Once that’s happened, and the customer is happy, they’ll spread the word and sales will increase – with good marketing you’ll have created your own brand ambassadors – and your client/customer base and sales will grow!