As a young entrepreneur, you are probably focusing on everything but marketing. You are designing products, hiring help, looking for office space, and finding investors. Marketing is the least of your worries – the product will sell itself.
The reality is that the product will not sell itself. You need to think about marketing right from the beginning. Marketing is not something you do in the future when you have extra money and time. Your business is a three-legged stool: product, people, and marketing. Take away one of the legs, and the whole business falls.
Most people believe that marketing is only for big businesses and worldwide corporations, like McDonald’s and Starbucks, but this belief is wrong. Even the smallest business needs a marketing department – even if that department consists of only you.
Unfortunately, in the office, marketers have a bad reputation. They always seem to be chatting on the phone, writing emails, or taking long lunches with clients. But they are not goofing off. Without them, everybody would be out of a job.
Why Do You Need a Marketing Department? What Do They Do?
Get New Clients
Obviously one of the main functions of the marketing department is to acquire new clients. Depending on your service or product, this can be done many different ways, such as cold-calling, advertising on a bus bench, radio, a hot air balloon, or any other number creative marketing vehicles. It is up to your marketing department to figure out which is the best for your business.
Their job is to figure out what is the most cost effective and highest impact method to introduce your product or service to people who have never heard of you. Without a marketing department, the only people who will buy your product are your mother, who loves you and your best friend, who is tired of listening to you talk about it.
Remind Existing Clients That You Exist
My business had many clients. A few of them used our services on a weekly basis. But most of them used us a few times a year or even just once. There was a lot of competition, so the clients were always being tempted by my rivals.
The marketing department (me and an employee) loved Christmas. Not because we got to exchange presents and have a few days off; we loved Christmas because it gave us a great opportunity to remind our clients we exist.
For our regular clients, we sent a basic Christmas card. But to the less frequent clients, we sent special custom Christmas cards. They were big, hand-written, and addressed specifically to the person who dealt with us. The point was to get their attention and remind them that we are still around and ready to help again. It was great! January was usually our best month of the year because of those Christmas cards.
It is the marketing department's job to keep reminding existing clients that you are still around. If you provide a good product then existing clients are easy to coax – you just need to keep reminding them. The next time they need something, your company will be the first thing on their mind.
Promote the Image
As a business owner, it is difficult to worry about what your logo looks like, what your invoice looks like, what the signature in all emails looks like, what your clients think of your company, etc. All these types of things seem petty and small – but they are just as important as the product itself.
You have probably heard it before – image is everything. It is true. Lady Gaga sings well, but it is her marketing department and the image they created that does all the selling.
Your marketing department should ensure that your business creates the proper image – right from the beginning. Things like having a nice logo, the logo appearing on all company paperwork and emails, guidelines for communication with clients, how complaints are handled… basically everything that your clients comes in contact with should be approved by the marketing department.
It is the marketing department's job to ensure that your clients see your business and product in a way that promotes a positive image.
As a young entrepreneur starting a new business, you need to have a marketing department – even if that marketing department is just you.
Roman Jelinek had his own business and then he sold it. Now he is hoping to start another successful business. Read more about Roman here.