“When a great team loses through complacency, it will constantly search for new and more intricate explanations to explain away defeat.” – Pat Riley
We’ve all been there. Not so much stuck in a rut, but just coasting. Word of mouth is how you’ve gotten most of your business until this point, but that referral network is drying up. If you’re a company that sells to other businesses you can only up sell services to your clients so much. It’s easy. Your business isn’t bleeding cash, you’re making money, more would be nice– but who has time to do more marketing? Besides, the budget meeting is coming up and you’re pretty sure if you stick another item onto the list, your CFO is going to have your head- or worse yet, the budget won’t get approved and you’ll lose another four hours of your life at the never ending budget meeting. There are worse things in life than not marketing after all, right? Marketing complacency sucks. It’s not good for your business, your employees, your bottom line or you. Growth is the only way to sustain and increase profits, and marketing is the key to unlocking growth. Are you complacent in your marketing? Here are a few signs it’s time to change it up:
You don’t spend your entire marketing budget (or you don’t have one at all).
Use it or lose it, buddy. If you’re not accounting for the entire allocation of budget dedicated to your marketing, something is wrong. You should be maximizing your marketing budget so that it is completely spent on marketing efforts that you’re constantly measuring every month. You don’t have a budget? Huge red flag. It’s time to develop one. I know the meetings seem endless and getting funds out of your executive team is like pulling teeth, but your business needs to market to survive and thrive. Develop a budget, or risk handicapping your business growth indefinitely.
You have no marketing plan.
If I sat down with you today and said, “So, where’s your marketing plan for 2014? What efforts are you making to grow and how will you implement them in the coming year?” You may pull out a long document complete with graphics and charts- or you may produce nothing at all. You’ve been busy. You’ll list a few excuses, then you’ll say, “Well, I should probably get on that.” You should. You have to. The longer you wait, the more behind the curve you are and the less exposure you have on the web. What is your competition doing to market themselves? So many companies worry so much about products and competitors stealing their ideas and recreating what they’ve done when if they only focused on marketing and providing more value to their prospects and customers, they would never have to worry about competition. You can’t afford to not be creating content for your audience- so sit down and develop a plan for how you’ll execute that.
Hey, we can play the blame game all day long- but at the end of the day, we know who is really responsible for the growth of your business, and it’s not your sales team. In fact, the fact that you’re not marketing is probably driving your sales team nuts and you’re lucky to still have them closing deals for you. Believe me, I promise you that your sales team (specifically if their compensation is commission based) wants nothing more than to close more leads for the business, but putting it squarely on their shoulders is just a way to try and shift the responsibility. If you’re not actively marketing or assisting your sales team in acquiring new leads, you’ll never grow as a business.
I’m not saying you don’t care. I’m just saying that it’s time to act like you care. Complacency in anything is the beginning of failure. When your employees sense complacency, they’ll start to question why they care, then they start looking for other jobs or the quality of their work diminishes. This means your clients aren’t as happy, they inevitably leave and because you haven’t marketed yourself, your business crumbles. It’s not scare tactics, it’s just reality. We’ve all needed a little kick in the ass at some point. The only failure comes from inaction. So take action, avoid complacency, and save your business.