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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 (claim you free digital copy here) 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 sacrosanct activities in your business.
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- Create your baseline marketing activity plan
- Identify all recurring tasks
- Create a checklist for each recurring task
- 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
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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 | This post has been developed from a practical exercise that Bryony Thomas designed for our Members' Club PLUS, which gives you a monthly dose of marketing clarity.
Author and Founder, Watertight Marketing
Bryony is an inspirational marketing speaker, and author of Watertight Marketing (Panoma Press, £14.99). Billed by Start Your Business Magazine as “a must for small businesses.” It was described by one MD as “the entrepreneur’s essential marketing manual”. By another, as the “best business book I’ve ever read.”