Successful marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, or the services you offer, but about the stories you tell and the outcomes and experiences that you create for people. Yet if you’re not creating and sharing this, then audiences will go to those who are… on websites and online, to articles and infographics, and via podcasts, videos and customised newsletters. All of which is of course, marketing.
In recent years, there’s been a new sense of people power born from social media. As a result, “a brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is… it’s what consumers tell each other it is,” to quote Scott Cook, the US billionaire businessman who co-founded Intuit and is a director of eBay and Procter & Gamble.
Indeed, research proves that people spend 50% more with businesses that regularly respond to posted user reviews (good and bad). What’s more, an astonishing 93% of people read online reviews before making a purchase, to check a product’s quality and a company’s reputation.1 The average local business puts 5-10% of its revenue towards their digital marketing budget, but for SME’s that number can climb to about 14%.1 The vast majority of businesses rely on marketing to not only produce results now, but in the near and far future too – very prudent thinking, particularly from learnings gained from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic. However, some executive teams and business owners reckon their business doesn’t really need marketing support at all. So let’s see if we can bust this myth.
Is marketing really that vital?
Marketing is critical for businesses of all shapes and sizes because it informs and attracts your potential customers, and helps persuade them to purchase your products or services. A marketing plan, which is a critical component of your business plan, helps you to generate and sustain demand, relevance, reputation, and a competitive edge over other companies in your space. Furthermore, when customers are happy about your products or services, they become your brand ambassadors, without your knowledge or seeking your permission.
How many businesses carry out marketing?
For SME’s and large corporations, the figure is over 95%, with the other 5% mainly firms that are winding down or who have filed for voluntary administration. According to statistics from various sources, there are approximately 2.3 million small businesses operating in Australia in 2023 and 43% of them plan on conducting marketing this year, while 71% reported difficulty finding suitable staff members to do it.2 And this lack of skilled marketing people for companies is what encourages many to use outside agencies.
Is marketing all it’s cracked up to be?
If you don’t want to better understand your customers, and the drivers and pain-points of prospects, then don’t undertake marketing. Conducting regular marketing activities educates many people about specific products and services. When people are well-informed about your offering, and get what they want, then your sales will increase. Marketing helps many businesses create revenue options and it helps feed in leads, build awareness, and reinforces a company’s credibility. All good outcomes for any business.
Marketing – the what, why and how.
“Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is.”
– Steve Jobs, Co-founder & CEO of Apple Inc. (1952-2011)
“Make your customers the hero of your stories.”
– Ann Handley, cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in social media.
“If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger.”
– Jay Baer, author, presenter, international business growth coach.
“Content marketing is like a first date. If you only talk about yourself, there won’t be a second one.”
– David Beebe, award-winning brand builder, storyteller, and marketer.
“Instead of one-way interruption, web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the right moment that a buyer needs it.”
– David Meerman Scott, legendary US marketing strategist.
“If you have more money than brains, focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.”
– Guy Kawasaki, marketer and ‘Remarkable People’ podcaster.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well, that the product/service fit them and sells itself.”
– Peter Drucker, influential thinker on management and marketing (1909-2005).
“Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing about.”
– Benjamin Franklin (1706-90).
Which is better – inbound or outbound marketing?
In the old days, most marketing was outbound – think TV commercials, radio ads, telemarketers making cold calls – all to be intrusive and try to get noticed by a percentage of people. Today, inbound marketing is much more effective and increasingly the flavour of choice for small businesses, SMEs and big corporations. Inbound marketing is a modern digital approach to draw customers to your business, revolving around giving prospects valuable content and memorable experiences that deeply connect with target audiences. Great examples are articles, blogs, infographics, White Papers, podcasts, videos, website content and SEO.
Do you have to advertise to be successful?
Certain businesses find themselves reliant on advertising to sustain their operations, particularly if they offer generic products or services. Yet social media campaigns (which is targeted advertising of a sort) can be incredibly successful, particularly B2B campaigns, as you are able to target specific job titles, industries and interests, and offer them content that excites, informs and provides value to them. Conversion rates are higher, the more targeted you get.
Can SEO and site content deliver great results or is it something you must do?
Over 80% of businesses that implemented site engine optimisation (SEO) reported a positive outcome. And before you start getting new content created for your site, make the most of your existing site content. Updating existing articles with new information and images can increase traffic by more than 111%.3
Have we busted this myth?
The truth is, for most businesses, operating without marketing is simply impossible. If you’re genuinely committed to growing your business, investing in marketing becomes an imperative. In fact, the lack of marketing skills to draw upon is a major reason behind the failure of most businesses.
A core benefit of marketing lies in its ability to cultivate trust, a vital element in any relationship, often underestimated. Establishing trust is a challenging and time-consuming process, but once earned, it must be maintained – and when customers perceive the worth in what you offer, they are more inclined to reciprocate by making purchases, becoming loyal patrons and providing positive user reviews.
We’re confident you’ll agree that we’ve busted this particular myth. Just about every business conducts marketing in some form – not really because they think they have to, but because it reinforces their place in the market and it helps them get sales. And without sales, a business simply cannot survive.
Interested in finding out more?
If the article above has sparked your interest or made you want to revolutionise your marketing with some outside assistance, contact our team for a confidential discussion. We have in-house content producers, marketers, web designers, developers and graphic designers that can really make a difference for you.
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