I was at a networking event recently and – as is the idea – met some other lovely businesspeople.  We got into a conversation about the need for marketing and one person was adamant that they didn’t need to do any.  They produced a number of reasons why they thought they were justified in that belief.  Each one of them I have heard before and, I’m afraid to say, each one of them is a little misinformed. For your consideration, here are their reasons, followed by how I would rebut them had we had the time!

“I can’t do any marketing; my professional body has strict rules on giving advice.”

Whatever industry you are in, marketing is not the place for giving advice.  There are always too many variables that you couldn’t address in, say, a post on LinkedIn for that post to be meaningful even if you made best efforts to try.  Advice is always better when it’s given personally, tailored to the individual’s circumstances. 

However, marketing is a great place to pose questions:  Have you thought about x?  Is your x performing as it should be?  Do you need a new x? Marketing is about engaging your existing and a potential audience and getting them to think about your product or service.  Whether you do it the old-fashioned way with a billboard poster at the side of the road or you’re boosting a Facebook post, be asking the questions, reminding people about things or entertaining them.  Marketing isn’t about giving advice that should be personalised anyway; leave that to sales.

“Most of my new clients come from referrals so I don’t need to market my business.”

Great news!  But do you think you’d get more referrals if you told people you are open to them?  Or even if you incentivised your existing clients to refer to you (if you want to)?  Or simply made it easier for people to refer to you by ensuring your website is easy to find or your social feeds are active?  That would be a great reason to be doing a little marketing.

It’s true to say that most people are happy to recommend someone to others if they are happy with the product or service they receive.  But do you really know if your clients are happy with what you provide for them?  Are they just coming back out of habit or do they actually appreciate you?  Perhaps a little marketing to engage with them and actually find out wouldn’t go amiss?  Better to anticipate potential issues and head them off before you suddenly find your referrals are drying up and you have no idea why.  And any positive comments you receive make great testimonials for your marketing!

“I am not looking to grow, so we don’t need to bother with marketing.”

Again, lucky you!  So you’re just going to sit back, put your feet up and trust that your business will remain on an even keel despite the whims and vagaries of the economy?  You are a braver person than I am!

It is true that there are too many businesses who think that marketing is an optional extra: they only think about marketing when business or sales start to slow.  Actually, that’s a really inefficient way of doing business.  Take your ranking in search engine results as just one example of why: you don’t update your website for months (even years) because you ‘don’t need to’ so you tumble down the rankings.  Suddenly sales are drying up and you need to do some marketing again:  how long do you think it would take you to restore your previous results ranking?  4 months?  8 months?  A year?  Maybe you never do.

Smarter businesspeople always have one eye on marketing activities to retain their existing customers and ensure they have some control over the future of their business.  Granted, they might not be launching expensive advertising campaigns every week but they are always doing something to ensure they’re engaging with their customers, new or potential.   To think you don’t need marketing is to fundamentally misunderstand what marketing actually is (in my view!).