Marketing is an Infinite Game

Over the Christmas break, I have been reading “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek. The main message is that business should focus on long-term objectives driven by the vision of the organisation. In reality, this is a vision that is never finally realised. It will develop and move forward as time passes. In practice, most business leaders are driven by meeting finite goals or targets. Whilst these are normally easy to measure, they are often not helpful. They may even be harmful to the organisation in the longer term.

Great businesses are driven by a vision, and one aspect of a true vision is that it should be open-ended rather than achievable in its entirety. The aim of the business should be to continually move towards their vision. “Success” at any point, if this must be measured, should primarily consider “Are we happy where we are and happy we are moving in the right direction?

Marketing, with its objectives to own and communicate the company vision, must too be open-ended.  Success in marketing terms should be confirmation that people are buying into and getting behind the vision of the company. This can be demonstrated in many ways; by purchasing products/services or being advocates/champions for the brand, for example.

Is much marketing too finite?

If we believe the idea of an open-ended vision, we must ask why marketing is so often focused exclusively on finite goals?

Part of the issue, I believe, lies in the way marketing services are bought and sold.

In most cases, the sales pitch of companies offering marketing services and support is all about delivering finite solutions, targeted at achieving distinctly measurable goals: Social media likes, advertising clicks and conversions, SEO rankings, etc. All of these, whist important tools in delivering the overall marketing objectives, are just that; tools. They are important elements, but when they become focused solely on delivering finite objectives and winnable goals, the wider vision can be quickly lost!

Keeping things infinite

The antidote, I think, is to take a step back from the day to day when considering your marketing. Switch to focus on your overall vision; the “Just Cause” as Mr Sinek puts it. What is the thing that makes you get out of bed and go to work each morning? With this mindset, you may well find your motivation  is completely different. Now the goal is not to win by hitting targets, but to keep playing, moving towards you “infinite” vision. In this context the marketing objective will change.

The short term finite objectives (Social media likes, advertising clicks and conversions, SEO rankings etc.) and even bigger business objectives like driving turnover and profit, are no longer the ultimate objectives that must be met at all costs or abandoned. They are now simply necessary steps that keep you in business, and support the broader objective that is to allow you to continue towards your vision.

Staying in the game

One criticism of this way of thinking is that businesses must be viable in both the short and long term. Without embracing short-term goals, there is a risk that a business will fail.

Clearly, this is absolutely true and can not be ignored. If you run out of resources, your business will fail. However, rather than taking short-term goals as the final objective, they need to be seen for what they really are; a necessity to sustain the resources to stay in business, and allow the company to continually move forward towards its vision.

Short term marketing objectives too, should not be seen as the ultimate goal, but rather stepping stones on a path. Furthermore, if meeting these short term marketing goals does not support the wider vision of the organisation, then maybe their motivation needs to be questioned? What are you actually trying to achieve in your business?

If you think about it logically, we spend our lives striving to stay in the game. To suggest that we can ‘win’ and have completion is missing the point. There is always something more – at least until we die! Furthermore, to be a real visionary, you should recognise that even when you reach the end of your life, the game continues….

Want to read more?

If you would like to read more about business as an Infinite Game, you will find Simon Sinek’s book here on amazon.

He also has some great talks on YouTube

Love your clients & they will love you back

Given this week’s focus on relationships and the importance of finding a good fit between yourselves and your clients, I thought it would be worth revisiting this post that we did last year.

Many people think that marketing is all about finding opportunities to sell your products & services. The focus is on generating leads and managing them through the pipeline. In reality, this is sales. The heart of marketing is much more about understanding & building a relationship with your market, and giving them a reason to love your brand.

Step 1 – Understand what makes your customers happy

It may sound obvious, but marketing is first and foremost an outward-looking discipline. Anyone involved in marketing should spend significant time talking to customers. Talk online through social media, surveys etc, or face to face visiting exhibitions, networking or spending time with salespeople. Knowing what makes your customers tick, what makes them happy and most importantly what difficulties they have both with your company and competitors should be at the core of your activities as a marketer. Delivering value should be your number one priority, and the only way you can do this is understanding what your clients value.

Step 2 – Tailor your offering to Meet/Exceed their expectations

Only when you truly know your market, and how to add value should your focus turn inward to the services & products you offer and how you interact with your marketplace to deliver these. Even here your primary objective must be to tailor what you do to the benefit of your clients. If your clients don’t value something, then why do it. If they value it, they will be willing to pay for it, so do it. Apple’s customers value the quality & slick design of their products, and Steve Jobs famously said:

“When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

Now the bottom line is important to every business, and you ignore it at your peril, but whilst using the plywood would definitely improve the bottom line. If your clients value craftsmanship, then not using the plywood is the right thing to do, as it will help you to exceed expectations. Ultimately if they value it, they will pay for it.

 Love your clients & they will love you back

Step 3 – Work continually to develop the level of value you deliver to your clients

This process is iterative, and once you start on the journey, you need to keep going. As you deliver to your clients, their expectations will rise. As a result, you will need to be getting continuous feedback from your marketplace. You are back to step one. Embedding this process into your day to day management practices means that you will continually enhance your brand.  Stay in line with and ideally ahead of expectations. Your clients will love you for it.

The key to a long-lasting relationship

This is all well and good, but when considering all of the above, it is important to keep your own company’s objectives and goals in mind. As David discusses in his post this week, it’s important to find a good fit, between what your clients need, and what you are best suited to delivering. That way you will find it much easier to deliver for your clients without creating a headache for yourself.

Know your markets – Serve their needs

In this week’s podcast, we touched on the importance of knowing your markets. Looking back in our archive, I realised that we have never really done a post on the subject. Something I thought that needed addressing. So here goes.

One Market Many Segments

It’s a well known marketing fact that to be successful you need to know and understand your markets. But your markets are rarely simple. It is likely that you will be supplying multiple groups, each with different needs.

When looking at categorising or segmenting your markets. There are two key questions to ask:

  1. What benefits does the target of the communication gain from my product or service
  2. What message style will best engage with the group

For any group of customers, if the answers to these two questions match, then they will probably fall into the same segment.

At this point, I think an example is in order.

Segmentation and Slõ Drinks

One of our clients – Slõ Drinks, uses segmentation very effectively. Slõ supply a drink additive, that allows people living with Dysphagia (Difficulty swallowing) to make their preferred drinks safer to swallow.

If you would like to hear more about them, Check out this weeks podcast where we talk Marketing with Slõ Drinks MD Mathew Done.

Broadly, Slõ split their marketing into 2 segments:

  1. Health Professionals
  2. End Users

Whilst the core message is the same for both groups “Slõ Drinks make drinks safer to drink for those with dysphagia” The way this is communicated needs to be subtly different for the two groups as the benefits they see are slightly different.

Segmenting your messaging

Understanding that you are supplying multiple markets naturally leads into the idea that your message needs to be segmented too. In Slõ Drink’s case, the messaging looks different for each of the two groups, each message focusiing on the needs of the recipient, and how Slõ Drinks can deliver benefit.

Health Professionals: Slõ drinks provide a fantastic cost effective solution for your patients, which is soundly backed up by scientific testing. So you know if you recommend Slõ Drinks, it is a good decision both clinically and financially.

End Users: Slõ Drinks offers a safe and tested way to make living with dysphagia less intrusive. With Slõ Drinks, you can get on with enjoying life knowing that you are managing your dysphagia.

For both the core message “We make drinks safer to drink for those with dysphagia” is consistent. It’s just the angle that is shifted to match the perceived priorities of each group.

All part of the same story

When looking at this subject, its easy to end up with a highly fragmented approach to marketing. To avoid this, the objective is to be consistent in the central messaging, but then tailor this communication to the needs of individual groups. This is the key to successful segmentation.

As we discuss in the podcast, at its core marketing needs to be consistent. But it also needs to be highly relevant to those reading the message, especially given how much we can know about our customers (but that’s a whole other post). The key to achieving this is market segmentation.

Getting your messaging right for each of the segments you are targeting is key. If you would like to talk to the experts about how best to do this, we would love to talk to you.

 

 

 

The Power of Dashboards

Marketing data is everywhere these days and allows deep insight into the workings of your marketing campaigns. With this plethora of data comes the issue of information overload. It is often difficult to see the wood for the trees.

In my view there are two key issues:

  1. Data Overload – there are so many metrics available, how do you focus on the important ones?
  2. Data fragmentation – each platform will have its own set of analytics making it difficult to see a joined-up view of all metrics.

It is these two issues that I explore in this post; looking at how a marketing dashboard can go a long way to addressing them.

Seeing the Wood, Clearing the Trees

The first thing that a dashboard will do is to allow you to pick out the key analytics, and display them in an easy to read format.

Most people will be aware of Google Analytics. Whilst being a fantastic platform for getting an insight into how people are interacting with your website Google’s data is not that easy to read. The sheer variety of statistics available makes getting a clear picture of you marketing’s effectiveness challenging.

For example, Google Analytics will tell you how many visitors you are getting, and where they are coming from. However, having your website visitor numbers broken down by source and charted month by month, makes it much easier to see what’s going on.

Furthermore, by pulling data into a dashboard, you isolate it from all the other metrics making it much easier to read.

And you are not just limited to charts. You can display data in many different formats, for example, tables, maps, and my favourite; the gauge.

Say for instance you are running a pay per click campaign. You could set up a gauge showing how much each conversion (enquiry for example) is costing you in advertising. Making it very easy to see if you are on target and that your advertising is being cost effective.

 

Bringing it all together

The other issue is the wide variety of platforms and the fact they all have their own analytics systems. Whilst you can see some external data in Google Analytics, this is limited to the number of visits to your site. Whilst key data, I believe you need to be “joined-up”. To achieve this you are going to need stats from the other platforms and having to switch from Google, to LinkedIn to Facebook to Twitter…. to get the information can become tiresome.

Here again, dashboards are great as they allow you to use the APIs supplied by the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook to bring their data into a central dashboard. What’s more, the dashboard systems usually have connections set up with the main platforms. So usually all you need to access the data is your login to the relevant platform.

Another great use of guauges is to monitor activity on social media platforms. Say for example you have a target of posting 5 tweets a week or 2 LinkedIn posts per month. You can set up a guauge to monitor the number of posts on a platform in a given period. That way it is possible to check, at a glance, whether you are on target.

Data at your fingertips

Metrics and analysis are incredibly valuable. But remembering what you looked at last time, and how you access the data, means that reviewing marketing metrics often gets forgotten. Usually reviewed only when you have time, or when there is an issue.

There is a bit of work to do in setting up a dashboard. But once done, the data is easily available whenever you need it.  It will also be in exactly the same format as last time you looked.

The system we use – Klipfolio also allows you to permanently display your dashboards on big wall screens, so the data is there for you without even having to go and look for it.

If you would like to explore the power of dashboards, we would love to hear from you. So please feel free to get in touch

 

 

The Danger of Digital

This may seem like a strange title for a marketing blog post. These days, marketing is driven by digital platforms. However, it is the very dominance of digital media that makes them both a fantastic opportunity and a danger.

The Danger of Focusing on Tools

One of the greatest benefits that the digital era has brought to marketing is cost reduction. There is a huge range of communication tools with very accessible pricing structures. Often they can be free if you are prepared to learn and do the work yourself.  But unless you have the budgets to use a big agency with broad marketing & technical knowledge, there is a problem. Digital marketing tools (SEO, Social media, PPC etc) are usually sold by technical experts in the tools. They know which buttons to press but marketing expertise comes in second. They are more focused on driving the use of the tool rather than using it in the context of your marketing objectives.

With the focus on the use of the tools, measurement shifts to justifying their use rather than ensuring that they are meeting your business & marketing objectives. Furthermore, the responsibility for fitting the tools into your wider business and marketing plans falls to you. You may be well-positioned to do this. After all, you know your own your business better than anyone. However, unless you are comfortable with the concept of marketing (as opposed to selling), there are potential pitfalls here too. There is the danger that the focus shifts from driving your business goals to simply justifying the tool(s) being used. These are NOT the same.

The Danger of Delegation

While many digital marketing resources are simple to access and use yourself, their very nature makes it easy to delegate management to someone else. As a result, there are always plenty of service providers queuing up to help you. However, because most of these will be focused on helping you to use the tools, it is easy to lose track of why you are using them.

Many SME business owners see marketing as an activity that “gets in the way” of the day-to-day; Something which can easily be put to one side when things get busy. Whilst delegating in these circumstances may seem attractive, it can lead to inefficient use of resources. The people to whom you delegate, whilst experts in the tools that are using, may not fully understand your business objectives, and how the tools can best be used to meet these.

The Danger of Metrics

Another great thing about marketing with digital tools is the level of data available to measure your activities. However, this can lead to probably the biggest danger of digital marketing. It can be seen simply as a short term sales promotion tool, simply targeted to “deliver leads”.

The prevalence of metrics means that it can be very easy to test something new. As soon as the metrics indicate that it is not the “Marketing Magic Wand” that you had hoped it would be, it gets written off as not working. In reality, marketing needs to be viewed in the long term. Good marketing is strategic and delivers a framework which makes short-term, tactical sales promotion activities more effective. As such it is more difficult to measure directly. Whilst digital metrics are essential to the process, they need to be viewed in the context of the long-term rather than short-term objectives.

Mitigating the Danger – Have a Plan

The best way to address the danger of digital is to have a plan. Your plan should set out your business and marketing objectives and how you plan to meaningfully measure progress. This information helps to inform your decisions regarding which tools to use and how to use them. Furthermore, your plan will assist when working with partners in managing these tools. It will allow you to ensure that their activities remain aligned with your business objective.

The plan need not be complex, but it does need to be written down and regularly reviewed. You will find a few posts to help you start planning on our blog.

Another way to make sure that digital tools work for you is to find a partner who understands the tools, but who also has a deep understanding of marketing. A partner who takes the time to understand your business, and your objectives. A partner who can work with you to develop a strategy that uses the available tools effectively to support you in meeting your business development goals.

If you would like to talk to us about how we may be able to help with your marketing – Get in touch.

 

The Value of Content

Whilst most of our readers will not necessarily be looking to generate direct revenue from their content,  the importance of recognising the value of your content is still highly relevant.

It is this concept of valuing your content that I would like to explore in this blog post.

A word about my hobbies

To illustrate my point, I would like to talk a little bit about a couple of my hobbies, namely photography and playing bass guitar. Both of which I am looking to improve.

Do a Google or Youtube search on either of these topics and you will find the internet awash with “Free” resources. to help you on your way.

I started out teaching myself using these free resources available. Whilst this was great up to a point, it quickly became both frustrating and limiting. I therefore decided to put my hand in my pocket, selecting two paid resources to support my learning:

Bass guitar – www.scottsbasslessons.com

Photography – www.52frames.com

The first based on the paywall model, and the latter on the patreon model. Both these models allow for a level of free content, that can then be augmented by paid content as you get into it.

Because both of these organisations are getting commercial gain from their content, they are able to put significant sustained resource into generating it. The result being that the quality and overall value of the content steps up significantly compared to the free content available.

And the point is?

So what’s my point? As I have already acknowledged that neither of these models will necessarily work in the niche markets where most of our readers find themselves.

My point is that good content should deliver enough value to allow you to commit significant & sustained resource into generating it,  Good content has a significant cost of production, and so must deliver a return.

That return can come in two key forms:

  1. Financial Return – People are actually willing to pay for it
  2. Marketing Return – The content delivers real marketing benefit to you as an organisation as it re-enforces your message and attracts people who are in your target market, motivating them to buy from you.

Whilst financial return is the easiest to measure, it it the second (marketing return) on which I want to focus as this is where I believe most of our readers interests lie.

Assessing the Marketing Return

When you put together a marketing plan, you will no doubt allocate resources based on the value you expect the plan to deliver to your organisation. Some of this resource will be financial (paying other people to do stuff) and some will be the “cost” of using internal resources to drive the activity. In either case, there will be a cost, and you need to be sure that this is justified by the value that the content delivers.

A word of warning

Whilst sustainability in marketing is important, It is not the end of the story. Whilst using content to say “Hi its me again” has value, you have to recognise that people will read it, so if the best part of the piece is the subject line, you are not doing yourselves any favours!

Content needs to deliver value at all levels.

You are the expert

Remember, the basis of your marketing is that you are an expert in your field. Your content should therefore reflect that. As a result, the content should give the reader the benefit of your expertise thus delivering value. But remember not to “give away the family silver”. You are not providing this content as a public service. You are doing it to encourage people to contact you, and you should not forget that when creating & publishing content. Whilst interesting, the content should not remove the need for people to get in touch with you should they need your products or services.

The pay off

As mentioned above, your content should all be about increasing the likelihood that your readers will take notice and get in touch. Whilst  often subtle, there needs to be a connection between free content and your paid offering.

How not to do it

A good example of how not to do it is the website wpbeginner.com. Whilst they offer some useful content, that demonstrates their skills & knowledge around WordPress, I don’t believe that the content draws you in to purchasing their paid offerings (WordPress plugins). In fact, whilst I often end up on this site after doing a technical WordPress related search, it was only whilst researching this post that I actually realised what their paid offering is. And whilst I have used their plugins, I do not think there free content really re-enforces the quality & value of these plugins.

I do however suspect that much of their content is focused on the first business model (delivering an audience) rather than on promoting their plugins, so maybe I am being a little harsh and It would be interesting to know where their revenue comes from in reality.

A better example.

52 Frames on the other hand, constantly drops subtle promotion for its paid offerings with the free content, and occasionally makes the paid content available to everyone so they can see what they are missing. The free content is in the form of albums of community submitted photos on which members of the community are encouraged to comment & critique. However within the first few rows of the album, there are always elements promoting the Patreon scheme & content. Subtle, but it draws you in.

In conclusion

So if you are including content in your marketing mix here are 2 things to consider:

  1. You content needs to deliver value to your audience, and re-enforce your expertise in your field. So it need to be high quality
  2. Producing this content will have a cost in either time or money, so you need to fully understand and commit to the value that this content is adding to your marketing.

There is no doubt that, when done well Content marketing really works, but it has to be done both to a high standard, and sustained manner, so when developing a strategy, be sure that you understand the cost of production and the value it delivers.

If this has got you thinking about your content Strategy, and you would like some expert input – feel free to get in touch. We are always happy to chat.

 

What if…..

We are regularly posting about the dangers of relying on a single resources (Facebook, SEO etc) for your marketing. But there is a brainstorming game doing the rounds at the moment – “What if elements of your business model became illegal”. That made me think about this subject again.

The aim of the game is to think about how to develop your model in a rapidly changing environment. Whilst this may be extreme, The idea of asking “What if something changed and had a significant impact on my business?” is sound. And it’s not just about things being shut down or made illegal, its about recognising that businesses need to evolve to survive.

Look at the recent Thomas Cook collapse. This was blamed in part on their inability to recognise that their marketplace was changing. People had many more options, and booking a traditional package holiday was becoming less attractive.

But lets focus on Marketing

Lots of people rely on Facebook for marketing, or on Ebay and Amazon for e-commerce. Its unlikely that these will shut down overnight, but their environment is constantly shifting.

Adicted to…
Likes

Much marketing measurement is focused on engagement, and often the level of likes and shares is one driver for others amplifying your message, but there is now a move to remove this metric. Facebook have already trailed this on Instagram and are now considering rolling it out to the main Facebook platform.

If Facebook (or any other social media platform) no longer published Likes & Shares Metrics how would this affect the way you encourage people to share your marketing messages?

Amazon

Amazon recently changed its strategy in relation to First Party Sellers. The shift meant that many sellers who where First Party Sellers were notified that they were being shifted to Third Party Seller status, and would no longer receive wholsale orders from Amazon.

Whilst this would not mean loosing access to Amazon as a Channel, it could potentially have an impact on your ability to handle demand, and the way you relate to and fulfil customer orders.

The fact is that as a marketer you have no control over decisions made by these platforms. On this basis, considering what you might do if the ground shifts is not a bad idea.

Ask What if… when the pressure is off

It can also, strangely, be quite fun to think about these things when the pressure is off, and potentially make life much less stressful when things come out of left field to affect your business:

So what sort of questions could I be asking? “What if….:

  1. I could no longer Market on Facebook?
  2. My Google ad bids increased by 50%
  3. I could no longer send marketing emails to my current list (This one basically became a reality for many consumer focusing businesses on 25th May last year with the implementation of the GDPR regulations)
  4. Delivery costs doubled – would I still be competitive
  5. Google changed its algorithms and all my search listing disappeared

The aim is to look at your business model, and think what could have a serious impact on this, and what you would do in response.

All the examples I have used above are overnight changes. However more likely is that things will change gradually. This can be even more dangerous, as you may not notice the changes until its too late!

Maybe if Thomas Cook had done this 10 years ago asking the question “What if the internet changes the way people buy holidays?” we would not have the CAA needing to repatriate 150,000 British holiday makers!

Another name for this process is Scenario Planning. A tool used by big organisations to model and build strategic plans for the future. But even in smaller businesses, the tool can be a useful part of the long term planning process.

Balancing Agility & Process

If you start a new business, ultimately the goal is probably to turn a profit. This requires growth in turnover, whilst at the same time controlling costs.

The best way to maximise profitability is to run a lean business model driven by efficient processes. But in reality, this tends not to deliver growth.

The Balancing Act

In small businesses, success comes from innovation and agility. You can have an idea on Monday and be on the way to implementing it by the end of the week. Whilst big organisations have more resources and can outspend you, the same process would take months or even years for them.

This agility leads to great competitive advantage and through that, to growth. So for small businesses, agility is often the key to growth. But there is a cost. Being agile means that your efficiency will suffer and ultimately it will restrict the ability to scale your business model. So agility on its own is not a recipe for long term success.

To be efficient, you need to install processes to manage your business. These will bring down costs and improve profitability, but rigid process can stifle significant growth.

The value of process is another post entirely. Here, I want to focus on how to balance agility and process to deliver manageable, sustained profitable growth.

Planning for the future

The key is long term planning and the acceptance that the development profile of a business is not going to be linear.

Growth at the cost of profitability

In the early days, the priority will be growth, and the focus should be on agility. The aim is to work with the market to hone your offering to deliver maximum impact. This is likely to involve being willing to quickly change the way you do things in light of your developing a better understanding of the market.

But even here, the aim is not an unplanned free for all. In an earlier post, I talked about the planning philosophy of “Do stuff and iterate“.

Yes, I do see the irony. To be agile, you need a structure to manage things. The issue is where the focus lies. The process should create an environment where development and growth are planned, but where the process supports and drives activity rather than controlling and stifling it. Without this structure, the danger is that activity will be either erratic and ineffective, or worse still will not happen at all as the day to day takes over.

Show me the money

The approach above should allow an organisation to identify and quickly transform to meet the needs of the market, and through this agility, to grow. However, it is likely that this will be at a price; and that price will be profitability.

So at some point, the focus needs to shift to building processes that put structure into the organisation, making it more efficient and thus more profitable. Whilst this step in the planning cycle is likely to stifle growth, it is a necessary step, but one that does not need to be open-ended.

Time to repeat

Focus on process should bring costs under control, and improve the manageability of the organisation. This will then allow scope to “give the organisation its head”, focusing again on growth. And thus the cycle repeats.

The result is a classic saw-tooth growth curve which in the long term delivers both growth and profitability.

The key to this process is planning. To manage it effectively, you need to understand where in the cycle your organisation is and manage your way forward accordingly. The irony continues. Even when focused on agility rather than processes, you need a process to manage your agility! The trick is:

Make sure the process works for you and not you for the process.

'Low Hanging Fruit' – Tempting but dangerous

The danger of too much focus on low hanging fruit ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ can offer a quick-win for a business but is it wise to ignore the wider picture?

Method Marketing?

Our philosophy is to practice what we preach. We believe taking this approach gives us a hands-on understanding of the issues we address with our clients. We like to think of this as ‘method marketing’ Over the last few months we have been involved with a specialist consultant as part of the Growth Accelerator programme. The programme looks to deliver economic benefits to the UK through helping good, potentially high growth companies to develop in a managed & sustainable way. Very quickly it has become clear that one of the key drivers of growth is sustained, joined-up marketing.

It’s not all about short-term

As an SME, it is all too easy to be focused on the short term. We often find clients talking to us about wanting to “get the quick win” or “pick the low hanging fruit (or other similar cliches!). Although identifying and exploiting these should always be a part of a joined-up marketing strategy, all too often they become the only goal! This tends to result in marketing being short term and disjointed.

Think to the future

The Growth Accelerator process encourages business owners to stop looking at performance over the next 6-12 months, and rather think about how to deliver performance over the next 3 years and beyond! In our own case, we are starting to take a longer term view of our marketing. Rather than  concentrating on what we need to do to drive the business over the next 3-6 months (which is mainly a ‘done-deal’ anyway!), we are moving to think about what processes we should be putting in place to deliver even more client-value in the longer term, and then how can we communicate this value offering to our market in a sustainable and joined-up way over the coming years.

Be realistic

Inevitably, the short term is still important. As an SME, you shouldn’t lose sight of the short term needs of the business, but surprisingly (or maybe not?), taking a more long-term, joined-up approach to our business development, is benefiting the short term opportunities too! The quick win and low hanging fruit are there to be had/picked, but we are starting to learn, that maybe we don’t need to spend all our marketing effort looking for them!