Is Marketing In Your DNA?
Richard Branson didn’t get a marketing degree. In fact, he barely survived in education until he was sixteen. Despite this, few would disagree with the fact that he has proven himself to be a pretty competent marketer & great marketing has been the cornerstone of his phenomenal success.
I meet well over 100 business owners & entrepreneurs a year & am met with many pre-conceptions of what marketing is. Marketing folk are often viewed as silver-tongued smoothies that espouse jargon from every orifice or as the overpaid trendies that play with social media or colour-in logos.
One observation I can share is that lurking within the Entrepreneurial DNA that drives business owners forward, is a very strong Marketing chromosome. Many entrepreneurs are born as instinctive marketing people. This is not surprising really, given that they have mostly spotted that they can do something better for customers than the competition & set out to try & deliver it.
Their businesses are often already doing loads of great marketing. They will undoubtedly have a website, some brochures explaining what they do, maybe spending money of media, adwords or exhibitions. Often the Sales Director will have persuaded the CEO that they should have stands at exhibitions or at least go to lots of them. A couple of seasonal jollies for customers are a must! This scattergun marketing is rarely joined up or measured & is at best an inefficient use of resources & at worst, can be counter productive. This can lead to marketing being perceived as a cost centre rather than the profit centre it should be.
The cornerstone of any ambition SME or Scale-up business should be a clear vision & understanding across the business & its stakeholders of the following:
- What your best customers really look like
- Who are they, what do they need & what problems you are going to solve better than anyone else
- Your Proposition
- The messaging that clearly articulates how you add value to your customers in a way that they can clearly digest.
- Your Brand
- The consistent way in which you communicate with everyone, inside & outside the business. This helps differentiate you & defines the personality &culture of your business
Thereafter, marketing is about building a scalable process for Finding, Winning & Keeping clients, underpinned by measuring tools that help optimise the efficiency of that marketing engine & ensure that you reduce your Customer Acquisition Cost & optimise your Customer Lifetime Value.
Once you have this, you can demonstrate a scalable business model, underpinned by KPI evidence. This is very attractive to investors.
Clearly Richard Branson didn’t do all this on his own. He had the vision & the drive & then surrounded himself with the best people that helped build the engine.