The symptoms of sick marketing

It’s important to be healthy, we can all agree on that.

Most of us do our best to remain healthy. Some of us even go to great lengths to improve our physical condition.

And when we’re sick or not feeling well we go and consult with a doctor.

So why then don’t we have the same reflex when it comes to the marketing health of our businesses?

We often here this sentence: “We’ve cut our marketing budget because we haven’t reached our sales goals”. That’s a surprising bit of reasoning. Imagine you’ve banged your kneecap. As punishment for not performing properly, would you cut off your leg?

The reflex to cut into the marketing budget when things aren’t working properly is often explained by a lack of information regarding the return on investment possibilities of strategic marketing. But there’s worse than that.

It does happen that marketing ROI is not even considered when budgetary cuts are decided. It’s not even part of the equation. In the minds of managers, marketing simply becomes an expense that does nothing. And in an expense centered managerial approach, marketing is the first place where cuts are made. Classic.

When things aren’t working properly, we have to understand why.

Observe symptoms. Identify causes. And not only from an internal point view of the company.

When you consult your doctor and explain your symptoms, he or she listens and asks questions. Never will a doctor make a diagnosis based solely on what the patient says.

Imagine: “My thumb hurts, doctor, I think I have cancer”. The doctor answers: “Alrighty then, let’s cut that thumb off.”

The example might be slightly cynical and exaggerated, but the message remains true.

Always analyse the causes and symptoms if you think your marketing is sick, but don’t stop there. Get a second opinion from an outside source. From experts who don’t work directly for your company.

Ask your clients. Scrutinize everything your competition does. Speak to peers. Analyse your industry in greater detail. These steps will greatly help you diagnose what’s wrong with your business. And when you know what’s wrong, you can start working on a cure. Isn’t that better than simply giving up and cutting?

Miracle cures in capsules have never saved lives

Too often, companies seek to remedy the situation of their marketing by throwing large amounts of money into a single marketing activity, like publicity communications for example.

  • Communication activities not supported by a strategy devised from objective and external data rarely solve anything.
  • Engaging in communications alone doesn’t allow you to understand what’s going on in your market or to spot and take advantage of business opportunities.
  • Communications alone don’t optimise positioning, segmentation, targeting, or innovation.

Companies must invest in marketing when things aren’t working well in order to reverse the situation before it gets worse. An analysis of your external environment will allow you to identify the solution to your problems. It’s also very possible to prevent marketing sickness by constantly monitoring what’s going on, by working on customer loyalty, and of course, by always being proactive when it comes to acquiring new clients.

To conclude, it’s important not to wait for ‘The Moment’ to invest in marketing. You must do it rigorously on a regular basis.

In life as in business, in order to remain healthy, you have to make a little effort to maintain a good physical condition.

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