Fixing Your Marketing; Build it and they will come – not.

One of at least seven reasons why you’re marketing doesn’t work.

You’re playing by the wrong rules and relying on Passive Marketing. It doesn’t work.

I host a No-nonsense Business Leader’s Insight lunch workshop every Tuesday. About once a quarter I’ll ask the following question regarding the four ways we market ourselves, and have every one of the 40+ attendees answer – “Where do you get the overwhelming majority of your new clients – 1) Advertising, 2) Direct Marketing (including cold calls), 3) Public Relations, or 4) Existing Relationships? I asked it again last week – there were 44 votes for “Existing Relationships” and one “Public Relations”.

And yet where is the focus of our marketing budgets? We have a fetish with advertising and direct marketing that is out of proportion to the reality of the results. Why? Because we have been taught by big business to do our marketing their way, by their rules – a way we can’t support or compete with – spend wads of cash on advertising and direct marketing, sit back, and watch the customers roll in. And frankly, it’s more appealing to my lazy side to spend money than to spend my time. The problem is it doesn’t work until you’re big (see Reason #1 of 7 – the Problem of Penguins.), or unless you’re fortunate enough to find that very small, unique niche magazine that has all your clients reading it (like Natural Awakenings for someone selling “green” products). And Passive marketing never works alone.

What do you have more of – time or money? If you’re Starbucks, it’s money. But if you’re Joe’s Java Shop – it’s little of either, but definitely more time than money.

There are basically two kinds of advertising – Passive and Active. Passive Marketing is focused on spending money to get new clients. Active Marketing is focused on spending time to get new clients. Big businesses like Starbucks can (and have to) focus on Passive Marketing because in comparison to Joe’s Java Shop, they’re rolling in dough. Joe should stop playing by Starbuck’s Passive Marketing rules, and start spending time, not money, to get new clients.

Big business rules of marketing work really well for big business, but they are the fastest way to ineffective, expensive, and wasteful marketing for small businesses. Who are your advocates, your raving fans, your relationships? People buy from people (not companies), and they buy more from people they like. Get ACTIVE in these relationships, and get these people opening gates for you.

Over a year ago a restaurant opened without spending a dime on advertising or direct marketing. I’d give you the name but it doesn’t even have one of those either. The first week the owner of this ‘no name” restaurant invited everyone they knew to eat for free – Monday through Thursday; best friends on Monday on down to acquaintances on Thursday. They all went out and recruited other relationships and the restaurant has had great business every since. Active Marketing!

Go get ‘em. But don’t expect Passive Marketing to be successful unless you’ve got a big wad of cash to burn. Relationships will get you much farther, much faster, much cheaper.

Build it and they will come? Only in the movies (and in big business).