SAN FRANCISCO — Personal experience has shown that owners and managers have very distinct beliefs relative to the benefits of sales and marketing. Operators tend to fall into five general categories of thinking on this subject, as follows:
- Marketing is a waste of time and money.
- Marketing would be good, but it is not affordable.
- Marketing may sound good, but it isn’t effective.
- Discounts eat up potential profit from the increased traffic.
- Marketing is my lifeline to improved sales and profit.
Into which category do you fit? What are your reasons for aligning with that group?
In financial and budgeting discussions, more hurdles and resistance are raised by operators on the allocations for sales and marketing than on any other single line items. Their beliefs and experience are extremely varied from “Won’t spend money on that” to the opposite end of the spectrum that “Marketing is the most valuable expenditure that we make.”
The spectrum is skewed toward minimal expenditure of time, effort, money and resources of any kind.
It is the most daunting hurdle to profitability discussions, at least partially because sales and marketing have so many aspects and influences, which also makes tracking all of the impacts of an effort relatively challenging. So, let’s examine these perspectives individually.
“We spent a fortune and didn’t get the return on investment.”
That is highly possible, which is why it is so important to design targeted integrated plans with meaningful campaigns that customers and prospects appreciate.
“Just got bottom-feeders – no real customers.”
Bottom-feeders arrive when something is given away and, when you no longer provide your service that low, they go to your next desperate competitor. Stop giving your service away. True customers appreciate what you provide at a fair price — they just need to know about it.
“Got lots of traffic initially, but they didn’t return.”
See comment above.
The industry tends to use discounting as the primary form of advertising.
Loyal customers know better than we do that it isn’t all about the discounted price. It is all about the perceived value package of reliability; desired quality; friendly, prompt professional service; convenience; and fair price.
Learn from your customers to be more creative.
LIFELINE TO SALES AND PROFIT
Virtually 100% of the companies I know that are increasing sales and profits have a dynamic aggressive integrated sales and marketing outreach plan.
Their increased profits are due to higher profit-conversion factor: profit of the last incremental sales over the base sales dollars required to meet first fixed and then variable expenses.
Each incremental dollar of sales is more profitable than the last until it requires additional capital investment to sustain the sales growth.
There is a relationship between business market share and return on investment (ROI), which explains why a single-location operation can be more profitable than multiple outlets if the expenses are not in line.
Another aspect of the ROI lifeline that is more difficult to measure but has definite value is the impact your sales and marketing effort has on the community, regardless of actual purchases related to a given campaign or effort.
Your marketing reaches business partners, employees, and your stakeholders of all categories.
It makes employees easier to recruit and retain, shows sustainability to your bankers/investors, and can get you valuable attention from the media to provide free exposure that you don’t have to pay for.
You can capitalize on free coverage, too, by making you and your company newsworthy to leverage your sales and marketing investment to the max.
To read Part 1, go HERE.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].