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If I had a pound for every time I’d heard an ambitious business owner, or those in their team, tell me that they struggle to make time for marketing, I truly would be a very rich woman. Time is our most precious resource, and in a fast-growing business the competing demands and fluid role definition can make deciding what to focus on even more challenging. In this post, I’ll outline a simple technique for time blocking to get into a baseline rhythm for your marketing. ~ Bryony Thomas, Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing

Why is it so hard to make time for marketing?

Our clients are typically step-up businesses, where there is an abundance of potential and ambition – balanced out with an almost equal and opposite scarcity of capacity and budget. It is increasingly difficult to make time for marketing in this context because:

  • You’re stuck on the Yo-Yo of oscillating between finding new customers, and then delivering to those customers.
  • You’re experts in what your business does, not in marketing or sales, and tend to find yourself doing what you know.
  • In a small and growing business, roles are fluid – with people picking up a variety of tasks that need doing rather than having clearly defined responsibilities.
  • You’re in the pre-profit or breakeven growth phrase and find it hard to justify spending time or money on non-billing activities.
  • Your entrepreneurial character has you looking at the big picture with little energy and enthusiasm for the day-to-day activity.
  • You’re so attached to your business that you don’t trust others to present it to the world, but you’re too busy to do it yourself.
  • You’ve tried marketing and it didn’t work, so you’re sticking to personal selling and hustling.
  • You find it hard to delegate others the stuff you could do yourself, even if you never actually get to it!

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. I’m willing to bet there are some in there that ring a bell. But, if we’ve missed the key reason that means you don’t make time for marketing, do comment below!

Why do we all need to make time for marketing?

As an ambitious and growing business, ensuring that you do make time for marketing will make your journey significantly smoother. There is no point in business growth when time for marketing magically appears. It is not one of those “when we reach point X, we’ll do some marketing”. It’s more true that if you do some (effective) marketing, you’ll reach point X!

3 reasons for a step-up business to focus on marketing now

With all these competing priorities, here are just three key reasons why marketing needs to come to the top of your list.

1) You’ll build a scalable business

Growth that is based on a systemised marketing operation is growth that can scale. If you’ve hustled your way to profit, or landed a few key deals on the sales skills of an individual – your scalability is on rocky ground. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of early hustle, and sales skills are essential, but to be scaleable these need to be underpinned with a system can can deliver day-in, and day-out.

2) You’ll build a saleable business

If you’re looking for an exit or investment, you’ll need to demonstrate cause and effect. If your success looks like a few lucky moves, or is premised on key individuals, you’ll be a difficult acquisition or investment proposition. Having a clear and confident approach to marketing that is proven to deliver consistent conversions is much more investable.

3) You’ll attract the right people to your business

Effective marketing positions you to attract not only the right customers for your business, but also the right talent. In growth, finding the right employees is as (if not more) important than finding new business. Your marketing is a key part to play in this. The brightest talent will be drawn to businesses that stand out, share their values, and look like they’re going somewhere.

Setting up your default marketing diary

Get the marketing beat drumming

If there’s one thing you do to give your growing business an injection of marketing confidence, it’s to decide to make time for marketing. You can use the Watertight Marketing book and workbooks to create your baseline marketing plan. That is, choosing an effective tool or technique for every step of sale. Once you’ve done that, you commit to a baseline marketing activity plan. A rhythm if you like. All things that live and grow have rhythm. Your baseline is the default activity. It’s the lowest level of marketing you’ll ever do. You can do more… but never less.

Commit your baseline to a default marketing diary

Once you’ve developed your baseline marketing plan, you need to translate this to your diary (or to the diaries of your team) as

Getting your default marketing diary set up will need:

  1. Create your baseline marketing activity plan
  2. Identify all recurring tasks
  3. Create a checklist for each recurring task
  4. Block out recurring time blocks in your diary to do these things

Typically, when doing this exercise with clients, we will end up with a default diary that looks something like this:

  • Quarterly – 2 days: Planning and preparing key content for the next 12 weeks
  • Monthly – 1 day: Loading that month’s content, scheduling emails, social media, etc.
  • Weekly – half day: Weekly live interaction (e.g. FB Live) to highlight that week’s materials
  • Daily – half hour: In the moment responses to timely news items or engagement with your materials

This is a simply decision you make

Anyone who has ever read anything on productivity will know that time management is really an exercise in prioritisation. If you fail to make time for marketing, it means that you are not choosing to prioritise it. Like fitness, you need to decide to carve out the time. If you’ve never done this before, it can be tough. But, also like fitness, when you get into a rhythm, it’s pretty addictive!

© Watertight Marketing Ltd 


Bryony Thomas

Bryony Thomas

Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing

Bryony Thomas is the creator of the multi-award winning  Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her best-selling book of the same name. She is one of the UK's foremost marketing thinkers, featured by the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, Business Insider and many more, and in-demand speaker for business conferences, in-house sales days and high-level Board strategy days.


The second edition of the Watertight Marketing book will be released on 31st March 2020.

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