When I ask a business owner what their greatest marketing challenge is today, the answer generally falls under the category of time, or their lack of time more specifically. Business is good! Business is great, they say! They are doing all they can do to stay up with the demands of the day-to-day running of their business.

“Who is handling your digital marketing?” I ask.

They respond with a look of guilt on their face. They know it needs to be done. They know they should hire someone to manage it for them. And yet, because they are strapped for time, their online presence isn’t being managed at all. Business is good, so they don’t feel the pressure to market their business and bring in more customers.

I empathize with the today’s too-busy business owner. There are days I also struggle to manage all of my responsibilities. But, for these business owners who are neglecting their marketing, I feel apprehension about the road ahead.

What if tomorrow doesn’t look like today?

In the words of a former client, “In good times you should advertise. In bad times you must advertise.”

10 years ago, we watched as the economy collapsed and dealt many businesses, their owners and their employees a devastating blow. General Motors filed for bankruptcy. Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. The real estate market collapsed. Mortgage companies folded. Banks who had been part of our neighborhoods for generations either closed or were purchased by larger, out-of-state banks.

In 2007, we had a 5% unemployment rate. A year-and-a-half later, in October 2009, the national unemployment peaked at 10%. (U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics)

Times were bleak for many. Those were times when business owners had to advertise and market themselves. For some, it was a matter of survival. For those who didn’t really understand the Marketing Cycle, it was the end of the road.

Thankfully those days are in the past, but good ties don’t last.

If you aren’t marketing yourself today and trying to attract a larger share of the customer base, what will happen when the economy retracts, or a new competitor arrives on the scene who has his Marketing Platform running on all cylinders? Will you have filled your marketing bucket with enough warm leads to carry you through the tough times? Will there be enough time to catch up without looking desperate?

Marketing is the cornerstone of a successful business. It’s easy to let marketing slide when you are busy managing customers, but it isn’t a long-term strategy for success. The time to engage the Marketing Cycle is when times are good. It’s easier to maximize the current momentum than to build momentum when things grind to a halt. It’s less expensive too, because the Marketing Cycle tends to remain the same whether in good times or bad.

The Marketing Cycle

  1. Plan your Marketing Strategy.
  2. Build your Marketing Platform.
  3. Execute your Marketing Plan.
  4. Evaluate your Marketing Results.
  5. Learn your Marketing Strengths and Weaknesses.
  6. Adjust your Marketing Assumptions and Repeat.

As you evaluate the data generated by your marketing platform, you will learn the most effective way to reach your perfect customer. This will allow you to grow your business confidently and in a steady, manageable way.

At Next Stage Marketing, we view our work with our clients as a collaboration. We take on a “team member” mentality and help our clients meet their goals on time and within budget. We can either handle your entire marketing effort, we can offer training, or we can assist in any segment where it is determined that our skills exceed the skills of your other team members. We can fill any or all of those niches at a price that won’t break the bank.

What is your greatest marketing challenge today?

  • Is it the lack of time?
  • Is it the lack of knowledge or expertise in a particular phase of the Marketing Cycle?
  • Is it the lack of motivation?

Marketing and advertising today are an investment in your business tomorrow.

Are you ready to take your business to its Next Stage?

We are ready to help you do that.