Marketing is supposed to drive predictable, sustainable growth. For this to happen, you must develop a marketing system. An effective marketing system is always working – continually scouring sources of opportunities and identifying qualified leads, and ensuring those leads get dealt with in a consistent and timely manner so close rates are as high as possible.
When it’s systemized, marketing becomes a core competency. With a system in place, businesses begin to understand cause and effect and what works and what doesn’t work, so they can more accurately predict results. Just like altitude is a pilot’s best friend, predictability is a business owner’s best friend. The bottom line is marketing efforts must lead to tangible, measurable results – that’s why you invest your hard earned dollars in marketing.
A marketing system is a series of steps implemented over time. However, a business can’t stop doing what it’s doing, so the development of the marketing system happens in parallel with the current marketing and sales approach. Over time, as strategies are fine-tuned and systemization takes hold, the predictable results will begin to appear – this is when you’ve truly become a marketing driven company. You’re now ahead of the curve, and you’ll never want to go back to doing things the old way.
Developing and executing a marketing system takes some know-how. Obviously, going from the "before" picture to the "after" picture takes faith and hard work. It's easy to understand how to overhaul your current marketing and sales approach, but it's not so easy to do. You must have a clear vision of what your marketing is supposed to achieve, along with the steps, processes, and strategies to make it work.
The core of any marketing system is to powerfully communicate unique or superior value – in the prospect’s terms – so it’s instantly obvious you’re the best choice.
Many business people mistakenly assume that when you talk about marketing, you're automatically talking about tactics - search engine optimization, online advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, developing a website. But there’s a strategic side - WHAT you need to do and WHY, and WHEN, WHERE and HOW to communicate with prospects – that will determine success.
If you fail to make this distinction between strategic and tactical marketing, you risk eliminating some approaches that should be part of your tactical plan, simply because these methods haven't worked in the past. When results are less than optimal, most people blame the marketing medium -the tactical part of the plan - without regard for the strategy that’s driving the marketing thrust. People often say, "We tried Google Ads and it doesn't work for our business." Or, "We sent emails to our database of 50,000 contacts and we only got back 16 conversions. It doesn't work!" Well, maybe that's true. But the problem may be the strategy, not the tactic. It’s important to understand the difference - planning for success versus hit and miss.
Develop A Marketing System - And Grow
Many businesses “hit a wall” and have a hard time growing beyond a certain point. The business owner knows results are stagnant, and knows he can’t work any harder than he already is. The clock is ticking, and an exit strategy just seems like a distant dream.
To break through that wall, and to take the business to the next level, ask yourself these questions: 1) where do I want to be in X number of years 2) what are my impediments to growth 3) what do I need to do to eliminate those impediments 4) how am I going to generate more leads 5) how am I going to increase my close rate 6) how can I ensure that I don’t have to compete on price?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re well on your way to understanding what it’ll take to build a marketing system that drives predictable growth. And your exit strategy will come back into focus.