Marketing Makes the Difference
We find the number one challenge for printing companies to develop great marketing and sales programs is time and focus. For smaller companies, success is seldom about the size of marketing budgets or the number of marketing initiatives being managed. With the day to day pressures of satisfying customers and getting work out, many marketing activities are often relegated to a low priority. This is counter-intuitive because without marketing there can be no sustained growth.
There are more choices than ever for businesses. For instance, for many small printers, maintaining and regularly creating new content for a great web site, pushing content to multiple social media sites, managing Google ads, maintaining an eCommerce site, participating in business networks, keeping up with LinkedIn, hosting a customer event or two, driving Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as well as other forms of marketing is just “too much”. The time and focus needed to manage everything possible is daunting.
Recently we researched printing company web sites. It was interesting to find so many not well maintained, displaying broken links and errors. A poor web site will create a negative perception for a perspective customer and may cause them not to place a call for a quote. This helps prove the point that it is better to do a few things very well than to do many things poorly.
Before spending any money or exerting any effort on marketing, here are 10 questions to answer. The answers will help narrow down your program to a “vital few”.
- What is your company’s story? How did you get to where you are now?
- What do your sell that generates the most sales and profits?
- Are you a technology company, a service company, or a PRINTING company
- Who are your customers?
- How do your customers describe what you do and how you make them successful?
- What are your company advantages?
- How much is the company willing to spend on marketing and sales?
- Based on the answers above, list and prioritize every marketing and sales initiative that the company could possibly implement
- What is the cost of each initiative
- What is the potential benefit for each initiative
- Can it be done well in house or are outside resources required
- How easy on a scale of 1 to 10 is it for the company to sustain the initiative
- What are the expected results
- What is the time frame that each could be launched
9. Pick 1, 2 or 3 of the top initiatives that can supported and maintained
10. Monitor progress regularly and adjust as required
Whatever is decided upon, the approach should be: do it well. The advantage of doing a few things well is that they can be easily scaled up or down as required. For instance, one company may do well a robust eCommerce site, an aggressive Search Engine Optimization program and a well-managed in bound and out bound telemarketing team. While another print provider may want to focus on a direct sales team, customer events and a dynamic web site.
If something is working, then increase it. On the other hand, if an initiative is getting tired or simply not working, replace it with a new program. Doing a few things well builds a great brand and generates results.
Joe Rickard is the founder of Intellective Solutions. Intellective Solutions (www.intellectives.com) is a consulting and training company. They work with printing and technology organizations to improve their sales, marketing and operational effectiveness. Joe will be presenting a Print 17 Learning Experience seminar, Marketing Makes the Difference on Wednesday, September 13 at 10AM