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CAN WE SLOW DOWN OUR MARKETING EFFORTS ONCE OUR COMPANY REACHES A CERTAIN LEVEL?

The short answer is no. But here's the extended version.

For many of my clients, marketing is an activity that needs to be done at a certain time (often at the early stages of growth) to get to a certain point and then, since they have reached their objectives, they can stop.

This understanding comes from two partial perceptions of marketing. The first one can be found in the understanding of what marketing is. For many, marketing = advertising. This is wrong. Marketing represents all the actions done by a business / professional to acquire and keep clients, and it does include advertising. So if you want to stop having customers, you can stop your marketing efforts. Otherwise, you need to keep going.

The usual counter-arguments are often variations of:  "yes but once I establish a customer base, these customers will refer other clients and the wheel will continue to turn by itself". There is indeed a close relationship between service quality and satisfied customers referrals. But although this dimension can bring water to the mill, it does not prevent competitive actions, account for the influence of new technologies on your offer and service delivery, regulatory and market changes, pressure on prices, etc ... Also, word of mouth is a very good source of new customers, but it is one of the slowest customer producing activities.  It is therefore important to develop a comprehensive and strategic vision of marketing to fully appreciate the impact that this service has on your whole enterprise.

The other perception that I have to address regularly is the notion of time. Many think that by starting with a marketing strategy, the results are almost instantaneous. Conversely, once the actions are initiated, some customers believe that the impact will go on forever. In either cases, these are misconceptions. Marketing works like a huge wheel with a lot of inertia; we must push really hard and continuously for it to move, and once the effort is stopped, the wheel keeps its inertia for a while and eventually stops. But once stopped, the effort required to get it to move again is of the same magnitude as that done previously.

In any case, marketing must be considered as a constant activity of your business. The actions to be undertaken must be different, but we must continually push that wheel. As with any exercise program, it is much easier to continue than having to start over.


Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed., MBA
Marketing consultant