If your business is doing well without any proactive marketing, you know you are onto something good. Clearly, there is a demand for what you are selling.
But what you should also know is that you are walking along the edge of a cliff, because it just takes a little wobbly in the market and you are left stranded. This is because you are not doing any marketing and simply relying on good fortune and rumour.
As difficult as it may be to incorporate marketing into your business, getting it right provides you with an offensive weapon even when times are tough. Now you are not just at the mercy of market forces, but attract customers even when there is a downturn or new competitors enter the market. This, of course is the power of a brand built over time through consistent marketing. A strongly built brand allows you to take some power into your own hands despite what is happening around you.
In my consulting work, I deal with many clients that have neglected marketing their businesses because sales were good without it. Tenders kept coming in. Competitors were few. International players stayed out. The markets they operate in were stable, if not growing. Good times! The biggest danger during such good times is that you never learn how to market your products.
The moment the market turns and headwinds pick up, you are left stranded without a brand, without marketing partners that understand your brand and without a clear marketing message. Now, you’re on the back foot, you are forced to fight the only way you know how – by dropping prices – which typically signals the start of a downward spiral.
You should use the good times to learn how to market your business and build brand recognition beyond the small group of loyal customers you have. A brand gives you some control over what happens outside of your business. It buys you time in bad times and gives you wiggle room when things get crowded. But you can’t switch on a brand overnight. It requires foresight to invest in marketing when you don’t feel you need it.