Sian Burton, Marketing Strategist

There are a few statements I hear from business leaders that make me stop in my tracks; ‘we don’t need marketing’ is one of them. When I ask why, the answer is pretty consistent – ‘we’ve never needed it in the past, our customers come through word-of-mouth’.

To think that you will be able to continue to ward off competition and maintain consistent growth long-term through word-of-mouth alone is naive. As a business leader you should understand why your business needs to be marketing itself.

There are five reasons that make it absolutely necessary:

1.  Strengthen your market position 

For most of you reading this your business is not a corporate brand, so you always need to be paying close attention to building your reputation. At some point in the future you may need to form a partnership or strategic alliance – just one example of why you always need to be reputation building.

2. Open new markets 

Creating new markets away from competition; even in a ‘normal’ year businesses like to see growth. A strong marketing focus will help you to identify new market opportunities that allow you to continue to enjoy sustained growth.

3. Build strategic revenue

Long-term revenue; your business should always be thinking about what revenue plans you have beyond what is in front of you today. Planning for and launching new products that will have an impact on revenue in two or three years time thus future proofing your business.

4. Deliver tactical revenue

Short-term revenue; if you don’t see the point of marketing, this is the most powerful reason for you to give it try. With the right strategy and implementation can you see results in months – weeks even – giving you the confidence to implement a structured promotions plan moving forward.

5. Increase business valuation 

Not an overhead but an investment; if your business is looking for investment or funding, the person with the dollars will always be looking for a well-oiled marketing machine that runs through the business.

I hope your business continues to grow on word-of-mouth alone; my experience, however, is that as you exit the growth phase of the business life cycle that wont be enough. Marketing will need to kick-in to keep revenue flowing, and it doesn’t do that overnight.

The question you should be asking yourself is WHICH OF THE FIVE IS YOUR BUSINESS ADDRESSING? Strategically, the answer should be all five.