Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company
The statement above from the 1920’s is attributed to Henry Ford and still resonates today – maybe even more so….
As marketers we feel the frustration of all those in our peer group – when it comes to cutting costs, marketing is the first item to have a line put through it. But really? The need to cut costs generally comes from sales being below expectation, so how on earth is cutting the marketing budget going to help generate more sales?
Cutting the marketing budget is to take the shortest of short term views about a business. Yes, it is an easy cut to make, it is an immediate saving; afterall, what does marketing actually do? That we are still having this debate nearly 100 years after Ford’s incredibly insightful comments says it all.
As we enter 2018, and with all the reports suggesting consumer spending is going to be even more volatile and unpredictable than in previous years, cutting marketing spend is not the answer; greater focus on where you are spending, and what you are actually saying, is.
How to make marketing spend work
Messaging and focus therefore are critical. It is important to take time to review everything you offer in terms of product and service, and now is a great time to do it.
What are you USP’s? What sets you apart, what is going to make a customer want to talk to you in preference to a competitor? Have you revisited what is important today to a potential customer when they are thinking about investing in the product group you sell? Do your messages align with their expectations?
The perennial question – measurement
The most common question in the industry where marketing is concerned remains ‘how do we know if our marketing is working’? It’s an obvious question, without, unfortunately, an obvious answer.
Things were less complicated before the advent and proliferation of the internet – you placed an advert, and either your phone rang or more people visited your showroom…or they didn’t. You knew very simply if an advertising message had hit the spot or not.
Today it is far more complicated, why, because as we all know by now the first recourse of any potential customer is to visit your website to find out more.
Rather than phoning you or coming to see you for information, there is an impersonal platform in the way, which might very well mean you never get access to the potential customer or the chance to sell to them.
It is a simple fact of marketing life in the 21st century, and it is never going to change back.
For an industry like ours where the vast majority of sales still need human interaction this adds another dynamic.
The key remains to get the opportunity to sell – your website needs to be sufficiently appealing to ensure that when someone sees an advert, and then visits your website, they still want to talk to you. Making your website represent your products, your service and your culture as they are today is therefore critical.
Henry Ford’s comments appear as relevant today as they did at the time – it’s time that marketing assumed its rightful position as the key discipline which drives success in all businesses and for its budgets to be untouchable.
For a bit of fun this month take a look at some of the many other comments attributed to Henry Ford….a visionary man with a lot to say!