If You're Not Marketing You're Not Expanding. And Your Mindset May Be The Problem.
There is big reason why companies don’t get the market share their managers feel they deserve: they don’t communicate. That may be a tough thing to hear, particularly if you have been spending money on advertising campaigns or other tactics intended to attract attention and grow revenue. Nevertheless, truth is truth and when we pause to look at successful organizations, you can’t deny the value of what they’ve done to keep communication flowing no matter what may be going on inside or outside the business, or how big or small the organization is in revenue, staff or product offering.
To get this point really down, we have to review the very definition of communication itself and look at the anatomy of its formula. I’m afraid even Oxford’s definition falls a bit short in clarifying the subject.
The action of communicating (a letter or message containing information).
The means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers.
The means of travelling or of transporting goods, such as roads or railways.
I’m sorry, but that says nothing about having one’s communication actually reach its target, understood and then knowing for sure those two requirements were achieved. And now we’ve approached a major error in thought and action that’s common in marketing. Communication is more accurately defined as an interchange of ideas between two people. On one end of the line, you have the idea, the concept, or the data. On the receiving end, you’d like to assume you have someone receiving the communication. Whether or not they’re willing is another matter for another seminar, but let’s at least put that line down between two points.
There is a flow from one point to the other where the “Aha!” occurs and then that is acknowledged in a flow that goes back up the other way, so the originator sees he’s been heard and understood. This all depends on essential components such as intention, attention, reality, and agreement. Any one of these can make or break the marcom game for a business, especially when they’re not put into regular use.
Intention is a nasty little bug for some business owners in today’s business systems industry. If one really doesn’t have the intention to get a communication across to another individual or group, we’ll never have much luck getting the share of mind that sparks the fire that drives market share. This is an area I’ve had to confront with many people over 30 years in marketing and promotion. There are actually individuals who for one reason or another have an aversion to outflowing in terms of communication. They rely on word-of-mouth referrals, or they assign the entire function of marketing on the shoulders of their salespeople and their feet on the street.
If one has little or no interest in expansion, then this is the best way to operate because it will guarantee that the company’s name and reputation – its reputation and brand – will contract. We don’t need a pandemic and social distancing to make that a natural law; it has been a basic fact for as long man has had something to sell. COVID-19 merely shook peoples’ mindsets up enough to help them realize how vital marketing really is, especially when you can’t send salespeople out to visit customers and prospects in the field.
The level of awareness customers have for us as a go-to resource diminishes as soon as we back off on the outflow. And once that occurs, it is very difficult to get back into the race. A good rep may be able to reach several prospects in a day, but there’s no way he can reach hundreds or thousands without the dissemination power of a good marketing communications program, with widespread email, social media, digital webinars and showcases, and other publicity.
But let’s not give marketing such a limited scope in terms of its role in keeping the business afloat and ahead of the fleet. For that we refer to the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) definition of the function as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
For me, that’s a pretty good definition and one that needs to be read a couple of times through to really get. However, you do see how comprehensive it is, and how it may be aligned with our intentions for our businesses and the people we want to reach and service.
You don’t have to be a charter member of the AMA to appreciate that. You do however need to examine your communication and honestly assess whether or not it’s being done with the proper intention, attention, and effort. If you don’t have time for that evaluation, then it’s time to let someone help.
To quote one of the most successful slogans of our time “Just do it.”
Tim Votapka is a creative marketing communications manager and designer. He has produced advertising campaigns, presentations, publications, websites and a host of other promotional tactics for B2B clients since 1993. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 631.382.7762.