If Your Marketing Isn’t Driving Sales, What is it Doing?

After a chink of light at the end of the tunnel in April, figures just released for May indicate that the UK’s construction output has flattened out again, with the sector down by 4.8% year on year*. For many in the sector the news will come as no surprise. Projects continue to be less plentiful and the ubiquitous trend towards value engineering is squeezing margins and taking nice-to-have items off the spec. It’s a climate that has caused many to question the value of their marketing spend…..and that’s exactly what you should be doing!

The question you should be asking, however, is not whether you can afford to spend on marketing but whether you are spending on marketing in the right way.  There is never a time that a business can afford to abandon its marketing spend because if you’re not investing in generating new opportunities your business will stagnate. Conversely, when money is tight and business is tough no company can afford to spend on marketing that does not provide a commercial benefit. That’s why your marketing spend needs to be targeted, strategic and based on driving your sales pipeline.

There is a snobbery in some marketing circles that puts marketing as a business function on some kind of pedestal, way above the workhorse of sales, and cites branding, awareness and customer engagement as its outcomes. But they are not really outcomes – which is why they’re so difficult to measure – they are tools by which we achieve the only outcome that any of us are really interested in: sales. After all, it’s only by generating sales that any business exists so, no matter how creative, memorable and engaging your marketing campaign may be, the question you need to be asking is: ‘will it make people want to buy what I am selling?’

So how do you create a marketing campaign that enables you to answer ‘yes’ to that question.  Here are our three top tips:

  1. Understand the difference between hard sell and soft sell tactics – you will need both to create awareness and understanding or your product/service and then drive demand
  2. Ask yourself honestly why people buy from you – new customers will usually have the same buying triggers so put those reasons to buy at the heart of your communications
  3. Are you waiting for customers to buy when they’re ready or are you giving them a reason to buy now? – think of ways in which you can make it an attractive option for customers to come to an immediate buying decision

* Figures issues by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)