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  • Writer's pictureBrian and Davis Garrison

The Marketing Black Hole

Where is your marketing going?

Are you marketing to your current customers? How about to your employees? How about to your community?

The marketing being talked about here isn't buying ads. It's not sponsoring billboards. SEO and Ad relevance has absolutely nothing to do with it. We are talking about experiences, happening right now within your house. And we're talking about you potentially ignoring it.

Too often, businesses spend more time trying to find the next customer, hire the next employee, or generate new buzz for a new product or service. Unfortunately, the effort to find "new" can trump the regeneration of good will you already have earned.

You works. It just does. It's undeniable. It is a force of nature. It is always at play, in everything you do. Sure, it's evident in your advertising and packaging, and plays a role in networking and social media. But more importantly, Marketing is the real way business gets done in your community. Marketing is how you pay and treat your employees. Marketing is how you relate to and service your current customers. Marketing is what is taking place when you decide to volunteer at the local food drive. Or not.

It's the "or not" part that is scary. When you aren't actively telling your employees, customers and community how valuable they are, when they don't feel it or sense it, they will create their own story. In the absence of marketing, they will feel ignored. You aren't doing it on purpose of course...but you are doing it, and the void will be filled by something, or someone.

The void in marketing rears its ugly head when the loyal customer calls demanding the new customer rate, and you are caught off guard and ill equipped to satisfy them. Or even worse, when you reluctantly give them the rate they asked for (definition of lose/lose).

Here is the thing about leaving the Black Hole empty. Your number one employee or customer is the competitions number one prospect. You may as well roll out the red carpet and welcome your loyal folks to leave.

Now, it is true that marketing to the current base doesn't drive new revenue, and doesn't add to the bottom line. And so, tight budgets get stretched, away from the current and toward the new.

Here are three easy ways to fill the Marketing Void

1). For current employees, just tell them how happy they are! Remind them of what they have always loved about your company. Remind them of how much you care. Offer a few perks that don't break the budget, but do make a difference. Walk through the lines and offer some "Attaboys" whenever you get a chance. Put your Values poster in full display in the workroom, and point it out when someone is living one of them. I'm not saying you should make this stuff up. I'm saying you should live it! Live your brand of excellence and celebrate with your employees when they do too. If you aren't making it up, they'll be happier remembering why they picked your organization in the first place. And they'll be less likely to leave when someone offers them a greener pasture

2). For current customers, let them in on what's happening. Show off some new products and services. Call to ask how their recent experience was. Not just an email or a text. Set up a client rewards program that is in their interest, not just yours. Make a donation to a cause that your community supports, and thank your customers for doing it on your social media channels. Remind your customers through email of their warranties and available customer service. And for the sake of all that is good and holy, come up with a current customer offer, every once in a while at least, that is at least as intriguing as the new customer rate.

3). In your community, be present. Your investment time will not always show itself in the bottom line, but your absence will. Volunteer, show up, sponsor a soccer team. Serve on a local board or three. And do so without analytics, return on investment expectations, cost per acquisition analysis, or whatever you are using to validate your investment of time and resources. The marketing doesn't happen because you are able to hand out a few business cards and generate leads. The marketing happens because you are visible. Let that be enough.

Two important things to realize. The first is that these activities, focused on filling the void within, will actually serve to create a brand for those on the outside. Bonus!!! And...Most of these activities are done for far less than your yearly Google Ads budget. These activities come from the heart. Marketing that is real, and based on real experience will pay off exponentially. Best of all, it's the right thing to do.

Marketing is happening all of the time. If you don't tell the story, someone else will tell it for you. Or they will tell their own. Fill the Black Hole. Control the narrative. Market the truth. Enjoy the benefits.

Interested in talking more about this, and how it can improve your marketing efforts, let me know. That's why I'm here. (Yes, I wanted to remind you, before someone else fills the void!)

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