Marketing: Now before it's needed

After nearly 30 years of doing this, I realize one thing for sure; marketing is not a new concept. No, I’m not going to take you on a LONG journey of showing you how The Romans mastered marketing, or other historical examples (although those would be true, and deserving of their own articles), but I am going to say that in my time and experience, I see that companies even have ‘marketing’ happening and don’t see it as that or recognize certain activity as marketing. I want to connect the truth that marketing is an old, and fundamental truth and part of a ‘sale’, with the fact that when you suddenly say, “…oh no, we should start marketing now…” it is going to be less effective, cost you more, and be more painful in general.

This business of being in business demands that we sell, and sales happen or ‘close’ becuase of marketing. The marketing may be months of lead up, or minutes of in-the-moment impressions happening psychologically right then and there as the salesman or woman is presenting/selling, but ‘marketing’, as closely related to sales or ‘closing’ a sale, is not sales. It is it’s own step. It is a separate element, set of items, and series of the senses being tickled. Baseball is home runs and points, but pitching is not catching, or is either swinging/being ‘at bat’, or covering left field. Silly sounding analogy, but in the same way, sales & marketing are the same game (yes), but they are very different disciplines, no matter how small the gap is lately.

The purpose of this article is to stress the urgency that marketing is the long-game. The planting of the seeds, watering, nurturing, shoo-ing away of the ravens trying to pluck up the young sproutlings, having multiple ‘soils’ to test which grows best.

Sales is the harvest.

You could even stretch the analogy to say that sales is the bread from the harvest of marketing’s wheat. Analogies are only so helpful, but you get the idea. Don’t you?

Let’s stay in the harvest/crop/plan analogy kids.

When you see other farmers around you starting to inspect nearly-ready stalks of corn, and looking at others that have died or didn’t survive winter or birds, it is NOT the time to go, “Oh shoot.. I’d better start sowing seeds/planting!” -While we all instinctively get that and sorta …laugh… it’s important to understand just how similar marketing and sales are.

As my goofy partner Drew often says, “..there is no mystique..” – and there is none indeed, with the connection between success and closed sales, and the long-game of marketing.

Here’s the problem, or ‘your’ problem; you only see, or choose to look at the sales! You only look at the bread; the cookies, the crowds, the end-game. ANYONE can do that!

Part of the secret sauce of not just success but the swagger & ‘cool factor’ of ANY thing successful is to downplay the hard work; the secret sauce. The marketing. Get me? No one’s gonna ‘share’ that with you! Not on the surface anyway.

The marketing work companies do, like the planting of crops (pick any kind) is HARD and long-game work.. WORK. Sales is work too; it’s woo-ing, it’s convincing.. and not 100% analogous to simply ‘pulling up a crop’ of course, but compared to setting up all of the design, videos, collateral, SEO, Linkedin Job Openings, forms, landing pages, Ads, tracking, and on the list goes. However, sales depends on a certain degree of marketing.

Marketing is not an after-thought business.

Marketing is planting, and you should plant months before you want to eat, right? That’s my point. Invest in marketing with a 6-9 month expectation of results. Can’t do that? I can’t help you. Sorry, if that’s brutal; business is! I mean it! Business doesn’t care that you didn’t budget for your competitive landscape. Your competitors are HOPING that you are un-prepared. You’d better believe they will invest where you are not and take that market share while you call marketing, in-bound, and other disciplines ‘smoke & mirrors’, just because it doesn’t return on your timeline.

These Suited articles are meant to be high-level education, not specific deep-dives.

Marketing looks different for a 3-location restaurant in it’s 20th year, than it does for a new tech company, than it does for a small/boutique legal firm or an eComm brand. However, all who own/run those successfully (to some degree) know & agree with these truths and benefit from patience and persistence.

That’s it!

I’m Todd Hunnicutt, and I’m happy to talk with ya about your company, your brand, your frustrations, and your marketing and how it is NOT your ‘sales’ but it sets the table for sales to occur. It allows sales to flow, vs be conjured or forced in a rush.

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