I often run into prospects that say, “We don’t need marketing.” Most of the time, these prospects work in an industry with a firm client base – and can maintain a steady-enough cash flow. That might be a company with government contracts or maybe just a few loyal large corporate clients.
When probed, however, this objection often is followed by a reference to the sales staff. I might hear: “My sales team doesn’t need any support, we get most of our business through relationships.” Or else they reference the industry: “We are a [fill in the blank], [blanks] don’t do marketing.” Regardless of the industry, marketing makes every sales staff more effective and, most times, we have a client in whatever industry our prospect claims does no marketing.
What is marketing anyway?
There are few business investments as intangible as marketing, since most other corporate functions are clear-cut. A finance department deals with ingoing and outgoing money; a legal department tends to contracts and terms; but the marketing department deals with the company’s self-image. Crafting the narrative the company uses to sell itself requires the marketing team to balance expenses, jump legal hurdles, appease management and grow the company – all using metrics like “impressions” and “influence.”
When a prospect says, “We don’t need marketing,” what he means is that his company is too straightforward to benefit from one of our services. For instance, management at a company like Widget Manufacturers Inc. might think its mission and products are self-explanatory, so why overcomplicate things? Why obscure such clear purpose underneath things like websites and e-blasts filled with jargon?
I’ll tell you why.
Many different companies do the same thing. One may do it faster; one better; one cheaper. But, without the kind of narrative that good marketing provides, how can a competing company ensure that prospects know that it’s better, faster or cheaper than the other guy? How does the sales team differentiate your company from your competitors?
If the reason you have no marketing is because nobody in your industry does it, you are using your competitors’ decisions to stunt your potential growth. The right marketing strategy is the kind of investment opportunity that you don’t want to miss out on.
What drives your marketing initiatives? Let us know in the comments.