Make Marketing Your Business a Top Priority

Where does improving the results from your advertising, sales and marketing rank on your company’s “bucket list”? If it is not one of your top priorities for 2009 and beyond, then you are putting the business at risk!

The first words I hear from business owners these days are “I don’t have any money to invest in marketing the business right now”. And my standard response has become … well, should we start talking about an exit strategy then? The bottom-line is this, if you are not investing in advertising, sales and marketing to grow your business, the business will not be successful.

If you are one of those business owners who is peering out the window hoping Jack will come sliding down the bean stalk with those magic beans to turn everything around for you, well guess what … it’s over. Just turn out the lights, lock the door and put the For Sale sign in the window, because Jack’s not coming! Or, you could try another approach, and chart a new direction for the business that could lead to future success and profits.

In Sales 101 you learn to “change the ground rules” when you are in a loss position. The same holds true for the business as a whole. Jack Welch was a master at changing things up when he was Chairman and CEO of General Electric. Mr. Welch and his leadership team constantly sought out ways to improve the operational performance of GE’s varied business units. Often times making major organizational changes when GE’s performance was at a high point, in order to continue to produce record sales and profits each year.

Eric Lipar, president of LGI Homes in Houston is another great example of how to successfully market your business. LGI Homes is one of the few home builders in the U.S. that has grown its sales and revenues every year since 2002, despite the economy’s fluctuations. When the home building industry started taking a nose dive in 2007, Mr. Lipar and his team charted a new course for the company, and doubled their marketing budget in order to stay ahead of the competition. The result … record home sales the past two years, despite the worst economy in decades!

If your business is struggling to make a 2nd half turnaround in this economy, here are some ideas you should consider to help get things headed in the right direction:

  • Host a brainstorming session. Get your team together with some outside experts to come up with creative ideas and an action plan to “jump start” the business.
  • Revisit your books. Take a look back at your past successes and failures. Find a way to build on what has worked in the past, and try to limit the missteps.
  • Toss out those activities, ad campaigns, promotions, etc. that are broken or have exceeded their “shelf life”. Focus your time, energy and resources on the new and improved.
  • Experiment on all fronts – change up your headlines, ads and marketing messages to see what sticks and what doesn’t with your customers.
  • Make marketing the business your top (and only) priority for the next 90 days, and see what changes occur.
  • Measure and track the results and shift resources and budget dollars into the areas that deliver the greatest return to the business.

The next time you consider cutting your advertising, sales and marketing budget when things get tough, stop yourself, and do the opposite. Put more emphasis (and dollars) into marketing the business, and make it your top priority. It will help reinvigorate your team, and keep the business on the fast track to future growth and success.

COPYRIGHT © 2010-11 John Carroll