Investing in marketing helps you grow, recruit employees, and gets you the projects you want to work on.
Marketing and business development take months, sometimes years, to turn into something big. It’s the consistency of doing these things on a daily basis that produces results. It’s like running a marathon. If you decide today you are going to run a marathon and you haven’t been a runner in the past, then you are going to have to train for it. You can’t just go out and run a marathon. It’s your daily routine and the plan you must follow, so that in four to six months, you are prepared and ready to run that marathon. It’s following that plan and consistently implementing those tactics that will get you to race day and across the finish line.
Your marketing and business development plan is exactly the same way. Investing today will get you a return in the future, whether that be six months or two years, and get you the clients and projects you want. It’s doing the small things each day that will get you to the big results (e.g. landing that project or client)!
There are five reasons to invest in your marketing and business development plan:
- Business sustainability. As an owner, you want your business to be sustainable and consistent in its number of projects, employees, clients, and profitability. Although you may not have goals to be the biggest firm in town, you want to be successful and deliver great service and projects to your clients. There are many things from a marketing and business development standpoint that you should be doing to at least sustain your business. There are many different marketing and business development tactics that your firm can implement, and it really depends on your firm’s strategy. Those tactics may include consistently reaching out to past clients to ask about future projects and for referrals. For example, reaching out daily to one past client to check in with them will result in 200 calls or touches per year. That’s going to get results when consistently performed.
- Growing your business. Growing your firm is going to take additional time and money through consistent marketing and business development efforts. It’s going to take time to do this and you must be willing to make the time and financial investment to do so. (Firms wanting to grow will need to increase their marketing spend by at least double, if not triple, of their current marketing spend.) Implementing tactics that are in line with your firm’s strategy will get you results more quickly. Entering a new market (whether geographic or industry) will take a lot of time and money. Your strategy may also be to develop one of your current industries or markets to increase your share of that particular area of business. Again, this is dependent on your strategy.
- Recruiting employees. Recruiting employees may fall under human resources, but there is a piece to recruiting employees that falls under the marketing umbrella, or at least collaboration. Currently, most firms are struggling with finding good talent, so investing in marketing your firm to potential employees is instrumental to the sustainability and growth of your firm. Investing in marketing from a brand and cultural standpoint helps communicate what it’s like to work for your firm and why individuals should come work for your firm. Marketing is vital to communicating this message in the right places (anywhere you’ve decided to invest your time and money based on that marketing and business development strategy: Are you starting to see a theme that having a plan is going to get you farther ahead in your business?).
- Select the projects and clients you want. Wouldn’t you like to be very selective with the clients and project types you work with? Right now, the market is extremely busy, so you probably have already weeded out clients you don’t particularly want to work with or projects that aren’t profitable or that your employees don’t enjoy working on. If not, now is the time to think about this. Working on projects you and your team enjoy allows higher margins and higher efficiency within your firm. When employees are engaged and enjoy the clients and projects they are working on, they are more efficient and produce better, quality work. Who doesn’t want this? When you invest in your marketing, you can be more selective with the types of clients you attract to your firm.
- Get higher margins. This seems like an oxymoron. Get higher margins when I’m investing in my marketing and business development? Yes! When you have a strong brand and connection with your clients through your marketing and business development efforts, you can ask for higher margins because you’ve shown the value and the differentiating factors your firm provides to clients. Clients will pay for something better if you communicate why it’s better than your competitors. This is the core of what marketing is: identifying your differentiating factors and communicating that message. If you don’t know what your differentiating factors are, ask your clients.
These are just five reasons investing in marketing and business development makes sense for your firm. It helps you grow. It recruits employees. It gets you the projects you and your team want to work on.
Lindsay Young, CPSM is a marketing services advisor with Zweig Group and president and founder of nu marketing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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