Bob's Blog

Not every organisation needs marketing

Not every organisation needs to bother with marketing

Yes, I know; that’s an odd statement coming from someone who makes his living by advising on and implementing marketing strategies, but it’s actually true. It must be borne in mind that not every company is run by a driven megalomaniac interested in nothing but global domination, and that’s something that needs to be understood by marketing professionals too: this potential client may have far less ambition than you.

Up until recently, I had been frequenting a local music shop for many years. The owner had built up a healthy business through hard work, a genuine desire to help with music in schools, a free network designed to match music teachers with pupils and being a thoroughly decent bloke. After a while, he started to close a couple of days a week, including Saturdays, to my astonishment. Whereas in the past when asked about the business he may have hinted that the Internet was having an adverse effect on sales, after he started to open less frequently, when asked about the business, he merely stated ‘I’m trying to bloody retire’. That’s the whole point, really. He wasn’t interested in selling the business as a ‘going concern’; he was the business. When finally he closed the doors for good, a sign was left on the steel shutters thanking all his customers over the years not only for their trade, but collectively for making his professional life so worthwhile. He was old-school retail; not interested in expanding, opening a chain of shops, a big online presence, rather earning a reasonably comfortable living, but in doing so, happy in the knowledge that he was doing something for the community. He never needed to do any marketing.

It must be said that this example is more the exception than the rule, but there are still quite a few, long-established companies happy to trundle along enjoying a reasonably stable turnover and no real desire to expand. However, for the majority of organisations who haven’t got such luxury and do have competitors, marketing is essential. And whilst every business owner will want the maximum coverage for the minimum outlay, their customers can see when a corner has been cut, can see a snap rather than a photograph and altogether sense when something has been done ‘on the cheap’. Given that the marketing reflects the marketer, the business owner needs to have a good, long hard think about how they want to be seen.

When it comes to buying in marketing services, caveat emptor; all a marketer can do is to take the horse to water, and any marketer that can ‘guarantee’ you an increase in sales is lying. Business owners and marketers should work tirelessly to support the sales effort as it’s the sales team, not the marketers, that can make the horse drink.