- Posted by: Ruth Van Vierzen
- Category: Blog
I was interviewed on our local tv station’s morning show this week for a community project on which I’m a volunteer. A group of citizens in our city had come together to build a large pollinator garden to increase biodiversity and food sources for bees, butterflies, bats and other pollinator species. We had sent out a press release to raise awareness and invite the public to our community planting event.
As I was getting ready for the interview, it dawned on me how confident we all were that if we just got this community garden built, the insects and bats would find it and make use of it. This now very famous line popped into my head: “If we build it, they will come”.
In all of the planning meetings and discussions that had taken place leading up to the day of planting the garden, not once did anyone ever question whether the insects and bats would find the garden and make use of our offering. We literally built it and walked away, leaving the rest to nature (and a watering schedule).
Oh, I thought to myself, if only it could be this easy in business. It seems to me that in most cases, the very opposite is true. So if Field of Dreams had been a movie about a struggling business, the quote might have been:
“If you build it, and while you’re building it develop and execute a well-researched, adequately funded marketing plan, and if there’s sufficient demand for what you’re selling, they will (hopefully) come.”
The unfortunate reality for most businesses is that they don’t achieve their full potential for success because, most often, they simply aren’t marketing correctly or with an adequate budget. I have reviewed many business plans and cash flow forecasts over the years, and invariably, the marketing plans are incomplete and underfunded.
Marketing a business is a time consuming process. It requires an in-depth understanding of your businesses’ competitive position in the marketplace, what drives your target market’s decision-making around your product or service, and the implementation of attention-grabbing advertising to influence potential buyers. If you can get these things right, you have a much higher chance of building a business that people will flock to.
Many businesses fail not because of a bad business idea, but because of poor quality or inadequate marketing. If your business is struggling, one of the first areas you should analyze is your marketing strategy. Do an honest assessment of where you’ve advertised, how much you spent, and what the return on investment (ROI) was on your advertising spend. A few good questions to ask yourself (and to avoid repeating advertising mistakes):
- What was the goal of your advertising?
- Did the expenditure make sense given your advertising goal?
- Was the advertising medium a good fit for your target market?
- Did the promotion allow you to accurately track the ROI on your advertising spend?