Whether successful or not, your business can always grow more, go further, be better. At least that’s how most forward-thinking businesses see it.
To spark further growth, how do you cultivate and communicate your brand to new B2B and B2C consumers? Being authentic is a great start, but its your words and actions which help define your brand in the public eye. Trust should not be assumed, but earned, and your brand is your most valuable asset.
What better way to earn trust than with bold, authentic and powerful marketing. Yet, it’s a prevelent trend amongst businesses in the energy sector, amidst restrictive budgets, to cut back on marketing spend. A cost-cutting analysis produced by PIMS (Profit Impact Marketing Strategy) of 1,000 firms during economic downturns found that businesses which cut marketing budgets took a much harder hit profit-wise. Research conducted by AdWeek in 2009 similarly found that firms which cut ad spend and marketing budgets during recessions saw sales fall anywhere from 20-30% over the following two years as a result. In other words, while cutting your marketing budget may seem like a logical decision, it may have negative repercussion you hadn’t anticipated.
Correspondingly, cutting corners by trusting someone to run your marketing who may not be qualified as a way of saving on cost is risky. Smart and profitable marketing is a science, and an art. Off-the-desk marketing, or handing marketing tactics such as social media access and blog writing, to any staff member who has time to spare will not prove effective. An unqualified and unexperienced staff member will likely make decisions based on unqualified or uninformed knowledge. While they may be able to generate some engagement, successful marketing requires a suite of skills, strategies, and tactics. It’s not something that can be handed off in hopes that it will “all work out”. It should be based on thorough research, sound strategy, and should be implemented with a goal in mind.
Marketing is not something that should be settled on just to save time, resources, or man-power.
When you settle on marketing:
- You dilute your strategy
- You dilute your message
- You dilute your brand
- You lose credibility, both on and offline
- You lose traction
- You lack authenticity, and lose trust
- You lose confidence
- People lose confidence in you
Build the right team, or employ the right team. Should you not have the experience or qualified team members within your business, an efficient use of your time and your budget is to outsource. While marketing is not a one-man job, having too many cooks in your marketing kitchen can prove to be just as problematic. As Scott McKelvey puts it, more cooks do not necessarily translate into making bigger and better marketing decisions. In fact, it can mean quite the opposite. Too many cooks, too many opinions, too many changes, and suddenly the marketing soup is a little too salty.
If you don’t have it in the budget to hire an in-house marketing coordinator, or you believe that your business would benefit from the experience and skill-set of a marketing agency, your next question should be: How do you pick the right team to partner with?
To start, marketing companies should be great at marketing themselves. Do your research. Check out their website, look at their reviews, and read case studies on their past and current clients. Does their website lack functionality? Is it grammatically correct? Are they active on social media? Are they active in their community and, if so, what does the community say about them?
The next step is to reach out to agencies that you are interested in partnering with. We recommend going with a full-service agency as they will have a qualified team of account managers, strategists, content writers and digital developers all in-house, ensuring consistency, collaboration and constant two-way communication. When you reach out to them, are they hard to get a hold of? When you schedule a meeting with them, did they do their research? Do they know who you are, your brand and your business, or does it seem like you will just be another client number in their massive portfolio of clients?
When talking with them, it’s also important to get a sense of whether it will be a good partnership. Some agencies may talk a big game, but will not have the expertise or capability to back it up. Don’t trust your business to someone just because they have the term “marketing” in their title. One of the biggest detriments to your marketing efforts will be employing a firm that over-promises and under-delivers.
You need a PARTNER, not a service provider. Don’t settle for just anyone. You wouldn’t settle on buying socks that have holes in them. You wouldn’t settle on purchasing a new home if it didn’t come with windows, doors, or wasn’t exactly what you wanted. You also wouldn’t settle on making a business decision if it wasn’t going to be profitable, successful, or help you grow. So, why should your marketing investment be any different?
Work smarter, not harder. Be efficient with your time and resources, and choose the right partner that will help you achieve your boldest marketing ambitions. Trust us, leaving your company’s marketing to just anyone is not a business lesson that you want to learn the hard way.
About WJ – William Joseph Communications
A recognized leader in the marketing industry, William Joseph is a full-service agency that empowers businesses of all sizes to change the world and achieve bold performance targets. Our commitment to founding all of our solutions on strategy ensures clients connect with their ideal target audience and compels them to act. With years of direct experience empowering organizations in the energy sector, William Joseph knows that marketing in the oil and gas industry is not optional, but necessary.