By Allan Starr
It’s true. These days, most people want instant results for their marketing dollars. At our Phoenix marketing agency, we think this is understandable in the same way it would be understandable if someone pitched a tent when what they really needed was more like a brick and mortar house.
While the tent is faster and, most notably, cheaper, it is not the kind of shelter within which to build a future or raise a family. What’s more, it has no foundation and, doubtless, will be swept away by the first hard rain. Certainly, what is needed is an abode, humble though it may be at first, that can be added to and embellished with the passage of time and improvement in fortunes. But such a journey is not a sprint; it’s more like a marathon.
Just as is the case with that home, a marketing program has to be built upon and added to, but only after it has begun to pay its way. Certainly, of course, that takes time, just as this home has to be improved when doing so is advisable and affordable. However, to expect the marketing campaign to pay off ‘overnight’ is neither realistic nor, in the larger scheme of things, necessary.
Don’t build a tent
Our advertising agency in Phoenix offers people this advice: Don’t build a tent when what you really need is a house. In other words, don’t throw your hard-earned money at some flashy scheme someone may have promised will help you hit the jackpot, when what you need is a real, carefully crafted program. To do so not only would be unsatisfying, it would be a waste of money. In the case of the tent, you would be wasting funds on canvas, rope and stakes when what really is needed may be more like a starter home, with, of course, a solid foundation, or, even, an apartment. Before these analogies get completely out of hand, lets focus a bit on the marketing mission.
Your mission should be all about building a future, rather than gambling inappropriately on the present. Brand building is neither an overnight pursuit nor a job for amateurs. It is important for you to seek out some well qualified help. If a serious lack of funds means you can’t hire a marketing expert, at least talk to friends and/or associates who have proven their knowledge of marketing.
Again, the process starts with a plan. Though it may be a simple and basic one, the important thing is to make it a plan, one that has the following ingredients:
1. An objective
2. A strategy 3. Specified tactics 4. Timelines 5. Measurement benchmarks 6. Analysis (a willingness to change course if it’s not working well).
. . . yes, it will take some money, even if it is a humble campaign. Just make sure it’s a campaign, rather than a roll of the dice. This may mean a shorter vacation, or one closer to home, or other such unpalatable sacrifices. But such sacrifices will be more than worth it if as a result your can get your business to the point where it is a financial asset rather than a liability.
Focus on your mission, and happy marketing!
About the Author: Allan Star, founder of Marketing Partners of Arizona (MPA), is former governor of the Southwest District of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), two-term president of The Arizona Small Business Assn. and served six terms on the board of directors of The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. MPA was founded in1976 and provides strategic marketing, advertising, public relations, sponsorship procurement and internet marketing services nationwide. marketingpartnersaz.com
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