Is your marketing in a mess? You might be suffering from Sporadic Marketing Syndrome.
“Sporadic Marketing Syndrome occurs when businesses have inconsistencies in marketing, whether it’s marketing strategy, planning, or promotion. Such inconsistencies cause fluctuations in turnover and profits.”Tracy Heatley MBA FCIM
I estimate ‘Sporadic Marketing Syndrome’ causes issues for 95% of small businesses. As well as the negative impact on the bottom line, Sporadic Marketing Syndrome impacts reputation, brand loyalty, trust, content reach, search engine optimisation, motivation, employee engagement, and the mindset of business owners.
The reasons why sporadic marketing happens varies from one business to the next. However, there are commonalities that you may be able to relate to, such as time inefficiencies, failure to delegate or outsource, and dealing with the current busyness of the business rather than working on the future of the business. It’s so easy to be in the here and now when you’re running a business. Moreover, there are so many more missed opportunities that business owners could be unaware of. Ignorance isn’t bliss! Let’s stop sporadic marketing right now!
Consistent marketing is important at any time, but particularly in times of recession or an economic downturn. History tells us that it’s marketing orientated businesses that succeed during and after a recession.
It’s not the ones that pull back on marketing that come out on top. It baffles me that businesses pull back on marketing as a way of cutting costs. No, no, no! Ditch marketing activities that aren’t creating a return on investment, but instead of pulling back, push forward! Find the most appropriate ways to market your business, monitor what works most and do even more of it. Don’t choose to reduce marketing spend and activities at times when your potential and existing customers need to hear, see, experience, and know more about you, not less.
I totally understand and can relate to the difficulties that businesses are facing right now. I’m a business owner, too, and I grew one of my businesses during the financial crisis of 2008.
As well as being an international marketing mentor, consultant, and trainer, I operate networking groups in the Northwest of England. Historically, networking is about relationship marketing. It’s a way of generating business through referrals. However, networking is so much more than that.
Back in 2009, I recognised the importance of building business communities. The distress that an economic downturn can cause for business owners is immense. It can impact us physically, emotionally, psychologically, and could lead to illness.
Running a business can become so insular that business owners feel totally alone. Talking things through with employees isn’t usually an option because employees look up to their business leaders for support and reassurance.
With all of this in mind, I changed our marketing messages to encompass all of the above. By communicating all the intrinsic benefits that networking can bring, like camaraderie, support, sounding boards, mixing with likeminded people, and providing a trust bubble where members can share ideas, whilst creating a motivational vibe tribe. It worked, and my networking groups have flourished as a result.
I distinctly remember having a conversation with my accountant when I told him that I was expanding and opening more networking groups. He asked, “What about the recession,” with a distinct lack of approval tone. My response was, “I’m ignoring it.”
I’m a highly qualified business professional, so I wasn’t being naïve, dismissive, flippant, or arrogant. I just thought, I can’t control the financial crisis. However, I can choose how I react to it.
This leads on to the importance of mindset. A strong mindset is crucial when marketing during tough times. Especially when it comes to sustaining marketing momentum and avoiding Sporadic Marketing Syndrome.
When developing a marketing strategy, it’s important that business owners understand what external forces may impact the business. Despite this, it’s also important to recognise that whilst it’s important to be open to change, and make relevant changes, some things are out of our control.
For example, no one could have foreseen the pandemic of 2020. That said, choosing how to react to situations is what sets select business leaders apart from the rest. For this reason, a strong mindset contributes massively to marketing success.
I’m not suggesting that marketing success happens instantly, because it doesn’t. Nor does wishing for something make it a reality. Marketing needs to be built steadily. It requires consistency to create marketing momentum.
Plus, I know from working with my marketing mentoring clients that not all businesses have the right infrastructure in place to cope with rapid growth. This is why, it’s also important that those businesses experiencing sudden rises in demand during times of economic hardship, also get the right support and guidance, so that they can cope and sustain growth.
Every business is different, as is every business owner. There are, however, measures that businesses can introduce to avoid Sporadic Marketing Syndrome.
Firstly, business owners must make sure they know their market, assess market trends and be able to anticipate future trends, as much as possible.
Competitor awareness is key to knowing how to position products, services, and businesses. Make sure that management, and employees, are motivated, and aware of the common aims of the business. Find out what makes you different and use the information to create innovative marketing messages. Even in bad economic times, price isn’t always the primary factor when customers are making buying decisions. You never know, you may even realise that you need to increase prices.
Break things down to create a 90-day marketing plan. Do something every day to get you to where you want to be. Remember, marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. However, you do need to be sending the right marketing messages to the right people, in the right places, at the right times. Gain clarity, maintain focus, and take action.
Spend wisely, but don’t pull back on marketing.
Surround yourself with like-minded people or people who inspire you. Stop spending time with energy zappers who ooze negativity. Create a vibe tribe that adds value, lifts your spirits, and helps you flourish.