Marketing by enhancing and extending your relationships

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Over time, I’ve learned the most profitable and effective approach to marketing (and sales) is . . . not.

“Doing nothing” but relying on repeat and referral business, it seems, is by far the most effective marketing strategy in our industry.  You can see the numbers on the sidebar poll — most businesses attain 72 per cent of their business that way; in other words, close to 3/4 of our business, it seems, just comes naturally.

So we can forget this marketing stuff, you might say, and save all the money you waste on marketing for some good toys . . .

And you know what . . . for a change, I’ll come down from my marketing “high horse” and agree.  Often, indeed, no marketing is far better than the ill-spent and money-wasting stuff that many people in this business “try”.

I’m thinking (in most cases) of Yellow Pages ads, overpriced telemarketed directory listings, phony charitable “contributions”, “sponsorships” for publications purportedly reaching your market, and leads services which send all of your direct competitors the same bargain-hunter “don’t want it now” consumers  — at the same time.

Surely there has to be a better way?

A truly small percentage of organizations in this industry “get” conventional marketing practices and these are my business’s greatest clients.  They’ll spend thousands of dollars a month on advertising, in a thoughtful, planned manner.  They generally have large, successful and resilient businesses.

This approach, however, is not the right one for most readers here.  You need patience, deep pockets, and the willingness to pay the price to achieve the market position and budget where you can spend so much money on marketing and promotion that your competitors are scared away.

The second approach — and the one I recommend — is far more incremental and far less expensive.  We simply look at the traits and qualities that cause you to earn repeat and referral business, and build in some tools and techniques to enhance and improve the volume of repeat and referral results.  This stuff can be done with a tiny cash budget and is the theme of my upcoming book.  You market effectively by enhancing and extending your relationships, not pushing into the minds of strangers with brute force (and lots of cash).

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