The economy has been booming. There’s no shortage of business to be had in the AV services world. Demand is high, price sensitivity is as low as it has been since the 1990’s, and competition is less fierce because so many players are reaching capacity.
Why then are so many companies fighting price-shoppers and short sales pipelines?
When there are not enough opportunities, then every opportunity is a must-win situation. Desperate sellers resort to aggressive pricing.
We call this the death spiral.
Profits shrink, quality suffers, opportunities become scarcer, prices drop again, and so on.
If you don’t market your business, customers make up their own stories about you, treat you like a commodity, or ignore you. The reason we market is to build a stronger pipeline.
“If I spend money on marketing, when will I see a return?”
That’s the wrong question. What you should be asking is how much marketing do I need?
Marketing as Defense
Defensive marketing won’t build a sales pipeline, but it will help referrals and web-searchers see you as a good option when they stumble on your website. This will hopefully enhance your negotiating position when the time comes.
At a minimum you need:
- A professionally finished website
- Relevant client testimonials and endorsements
- Clear signals about what you do and who you do it for
What you will get is a few less bounces when prospects scope you out. However, you’ll never know who didn’t call you.
Marketing as Offense
When you know exactly what you are looking for a customer, the next logical step is to reach out to them. Instead of waiting on leads, you create them.
At a minimum you will add:
- Lead generation and capture
- Clear value propositions for key prospects
- Multi-pronged efforts across social media
Growth, market share, and margin are all dependent upon your ability to efficiently and cost-effectively attract qualified buyers.
Marketing as Strategy
When you finally realize that marketing plays a critical role in maintaining your pipeline and increasing your margins, then it moves from being a tactic to manifesting as a strategy.
Strategic marketers add the following:
- Outbound Business Development process
- Web tools to identify prospects within your leads
- Ongoing brand enhancement
Well-marketed firms with strong sales pipelines and positive brand images can choose which opportunities they pursue and when. The net result is higher margins from ideal customers and better overall retention or renewal rates.
If you want to learn more about Marketing as a strategy, join Tom and your peers at Jumpstart Marketing and Business Development in Dallas August 7-8.