Some of you will believe me and others won't, but I believe that marketing and sales are the backbone to any business. Some will say it's finance, and yes, it's important but no customers is no business in my book.
It is the quintessential aspect of a business that ensures money flows in. A strong sales and marketing force can help make a business flourish, gain more popularity and reach more of your target market.
On the other hand, a poor marketing team can lead to wastage of resources, poor productivity, kill the vision of the other team members working in other parts of the business and even that of the founder, and to really scare you, it may lead to the collapse of the business. Yes, I believe it is that important.
Marketing involves creativity, action and the ability to win over a client or customer whilst selling a product or rendering a service in the process. Whether you have a team or you are doing it all yourself with no budget. Creativity and impact is what gets cut-through. That's why we all know ads such as the multi-award winning Guinness Surfer tv advert from the late 90s, or the Money Supermarket Epic Squads adverts which are currently causing outcry (and probably a very big increase in sales). And on the ridiculously expensive level of stunt such as Felix Baumgarter jumping from space for Red Bull, or on a more restrained budget level, Uber delivering ice creams on the hottest day of the year . They are clever and tap into their customer base.
But what if you're not creative? Well one option is to work with people who are. Can you work with an individual or group of people/agency that you can out-source to:
1. Cost/Risk: At much less than the cost of one full-time executive, you get an entire team of experts, and can expect cheaper software costs and ad costs, among others. Minimising the impact of marketing staff reductions.
2. Access: With the right firm, you still get complete access to all of your data and insights — no hidden fees/total transparency. Access professionalism in marketing strategy and implementation, as well as creative design, focused on the particular job or project on hand.
3. Time: You save on all of the time it takes finding someone — or trying to learn the entire marketing field yourself.
4. Experience: Get an outside perspective on your business. Your team will benefit from the experience the marketing team brings to the table, such as familiarity with your target market and the opportunities and many marketing channels
Ok, so you can't afford to out-source your marketing and you've tried all our marketing hacks (see video here) and you're following our marketing on a budget blog. But it doesn't get over the fact that you don't think you're very creative.
Try these simple techniques to see if it inspires a bit more creative thought:
De-bug your life, a great idea originally put forward by Christina DesMarais. Think about something in your life, can be as simple as a toaster, your commute to work or even feeding a pet. Take one thing a week and delve deep. What would make that experience better, what are the problems/bugs with it? Whilst you're not about to turn into a small electronics designer, it helps you to work through the process of being critical and looking at something differently. And who knows, you might come up with a great invention!
Finish mid-flow, I've read about this twice in the last week. Apparently Roald Dahl used to do it all the time. Don't finish something when you've run out of ideas or you're done. Always leave it before that point so your brain can think subconsciously about things in the background. So if you find that are having a few ideas about your marketing plan, don't wait until they're all dried up, come back to it and you'll come up with more than if you'd attempted it in one sitting.
Connective Ideas, when I was little, my Mum used to give me writing tasks. She used to come up with three totally random things and I had to write a story that included each of them. For example, lampshade, squirrel and a cactus. Now in the midst of your marketing planning you're not going to have time to write flippant stories but taking the idea of creating connections is an easy step for an analytical brain to be forced into making strange and often creative jumps.
Marketing when you don't feel creative can feel more like a chore than a positive impact on your business. It's about seeing that simply answering questions about your customers and solving them is the fundamental of a marketing campaign.
Oh, and by the way, everyone is creative. We just need to harness it and allow it to identify itself. It's not just about shouting out the best idea in a brainstorm. It can be about connecting dots, not just coming up with new dots entirely.
No More Ifs Or Buts.