Just because you’ve watched baseball your whole life doesn’t mean you can manage the Yankees. And just because you’ve looked at advertising your whole life doesn’t mean you can market your business.
More than two thousand years ago Socrates observed, “I know that I know nothing.” No doubt he was overstating the case, but his point is a good one. We should all be careful to recognize that there is a lot we simply don’t know.
Seeing Isn’t Knowing
Unfortunately, too many of us believe that exposure equates to understanding. I’ve seen Yankees from Mickey Mantle to Don Mattingly to Derek Jeter. And I sure have opinions about when to bring in the lefty from the bullpen or lay down a bunt. But do I really know to handle a line-up card over a 162-game season? Or how to motivate a superstar outfielder with a guaranteed multi-million-dollar contract?
Probably not. Doing it successfully requires expertise that most of us just don’t have.
Marketing your business is no different. Yes, all of us have watched TV commercials and viewed print ads and billboards our whole lives. And now we cruise the internet and social media. We might know what appeals to ourselves, or even what seems to work for other successful companies. But do we really understand what goes into a successful marketing strategy? Do we really have the expertise to know what works and what doesn’t?
Don’t Try This on Your Own
Recently I was speaking with Ilene Greene and Ted Polmar of MarketShare Communications in Montville, New Jersey. Their company works with small and mid-size businesses as well as solopreneurs to reinvent their marketing by focusing on immediate and long-term strategies, responsive website design, social media initiatives, and email campaigns.
According to Ilene and Ted, many of their clients have tried to develop their own home-grown marketing programs only to discover that they lack the expertise to design and execute a consistent marketing strategy. These efforts have typically failed because they are misdirected or misaligned, and because the implementation takes a back seat to other pressing activities. At the end of the day, the result is a poorly conceived and weakly executed plan, a disappointing return on investment, and missed opportunities.
Leave It to the Pros
In just about every instance, entrepreneurs and executives are better off seeking out professionals to handle their marketing challenges. Accomplished marketers can guide a company through the marketing process, from branding strategies, to web site design and implementation, to email marketing, to social media programs. The result will be a more coherent approach that achieves success.
Marketing is Just Part of the Equation
Of course, any marketing strategy needs to be part of a broader blueprint for your business. Your overall strategic plan starts with your vision for your company, establishes clear objectives, and creates the initiatives needed to achieve your goals.
If you are unsure of the direction of your business, need to sharpen your focus, or just feel a little uncomfortable about the future, it is a good time to review your overall business strategy. And just as with your marketing plan, an experienced business strategist will help put you on the road to sustainable profits.
Marc Alterman is the principal of MA33 Strategies, LLC, a consultancy dedicated to providing strategic planning and general business advice to entrepreneurs and executives. For help with your company’s overall strategic direction or other management challenges, contact Marc Alterman at marc.alterman@MA33Strategies.com.