04 Apr 2013

In good times or bad, doing nothing should never be an option

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There’s never been a shortage of reasons to avoid marketing.  Among the most common:  Business is bad – we can’t afford marketing.  Business is good – we don’t need help. My company is a dominant player – customers will always find us.  My company is too small – we don’t have time for marketing.

But consider that McDonald’s has an annual marketing budget in excess of $2 billion, and consumer products giant Unilever over $6 billion. And when Pepsi was faced with declining sales early in 2012 their reaction was to invest an additional half billion dollars in marketing.

So how does this apply to the average small business? The lesson here has nothing to do with the size of the budget and everything to do with the fact that even such household names as McDonald’s and Pepsi recognize marketing is a constant necessity. It’s a serious, long-term commitment, and it’s as automatic as breathing even without new products to promote. The most successful companies know that it pays to keep their name in front of customers and potential customers.

What too many small businesses don’t realize is they’re paying a price for doing nothing.  Competitors gain ground, name recognition slips, employee morale takes a dive and opportunities are lost, possibly forever. While the polymer industry is somewhat specialized, it operates on the same basic marketing principles as any industry. Successful businesses don’t hope for new customers – they create them. Successful businesses don’t rest on their reputation – they build on it and spread it around.

So how can a communications program help your business?  For starters, you can enhance brand image INSIDE the company. Not all marketing communications is external. For manufacturing/industrial companies there is often a tendency to overlook front-line employees.  A structured, regular internal communications program can improve employee knowledge of company operations, bolster morale and turn those who may just be punching a clock right now into the best brand ambassadors your company could have.

Good marketing communications can also build brand image among your customers and potential customers and partners. Your company name, products, services, reputation, attitude – all comprise your brand.  It’s how customers think of you. If you’re not marketing on a regular basis, you’re not creating or maintaining good brand awareness among your customers and potential customers.

Marketing communications can also leverage the power of technology for you. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook didn’t replace conventional communication methods. Mailers and even print advertising still have tremendous value. But if you’re ignoring social media or using it incorrectly you’re missing an opportunity to shake hands electronically with new customers and position your company in the minds of millions who are plugged in worldwide and who can only be reached effectively through social media.

Not all marketing efforts will increase sales. There are times when simply holding the line amid a competitor’s new product launch is a worthwhile marketing endeavor. The most successful marketing efforts are always targeted with very specific purposes, and they require an equally strong commitment in the best and worst of times. With a consistent effort and clear, measureable goals, a good marketing program can set you apart from your competition, and set your brand firmly in the minds of customers and potential customers.