What is cheese?

Oct 02, 2017

A lot of what people call “cheese” these days really isn’t. When you’re talking about Kraft Singles, or Velveeta, for example, you aren’t talking about cheese. You are instead talking about “pasteurized, processed cheese food.” It sort of approximates cheese but isn’t the real thing. Another example is what they call “bonded leather.” It’s really just vinyl.

So what’s the moral of the story?

A lot of what you may be calling “marketing” really isn’t marketing. It’s something else. And the problem with that is you could be doing these other things – thinking they are marketing activities – and then not doing other things that ARE actually marketing activities. As a result, you’re ineffective and your revenue (and profitability) go up and down like a yo-yo.

Here’s what I mean:

  • The Monday morning marketing meeting where you talk about proposals made and proposals to come. This isn’t about marketing. It’s about selling work. No real marketing here at all.
  • The sponsorship of your local little league baseball team. Again – not marketing. This is more “community relations” kind of stuff. Not to say it can’t help your image but it’s a long way from marketing.
  • Who’s going to call on whom for work? This is part of business development. A separate and distinct activity. Important but not really “marketing” in the purest sense. Selling work is so much easier if your company name is familiar to your prospects AND associated with doing good work for clients. And that comes from marketing.
  • The open house celebrating 30 years of being in business. Yes, it is nice to have a party. Everyone likes free food and drink. Your employees, vendors, sub-consultants, former employees, and competitors will all enjoy it. Your clients, on the other hand, may not even show up! I’d call this community relations.
  • The company holiday card. I don’t know about you but the amount of time and money spent on these cards seems like a waste. I don’t think they do any good at all from a marketing standpoint. Consider putting them in the “client maintenance” category.

Cheese is cheese. It’s not pasteurized, processed cheese food. Maybe it’s time you stopped serving “cheese food” and started eating real cheese at your place. Everyone has got to spend more on marketing IF they want to grow and do well in this competitive economy.

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at mzweig@zweiggroup.com.

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Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.