Which are you better at: Marketing your services or servicing your market?
Superb service – Average marketing
I have lost count of how many outstanding businesses I have seen go broke, simply because they failed to market their services correctly. They enjoy superb customer retention, because their services are so good that people just don’t want to leave.
However, because they win too few new customers, their revenues and profits stagnate and if they do lose a big account or have a large, unscheduled financial commitment pop up, they can suddenly be running at a loss. If that loss goes on too long, they are in deep trouble. If only they adopted better marketing, they could achieve great things.
Superb marketing – Average service
Then there’s the other side of the coin. There are companies that offer a pretty average service, yet their marketing is very powerful. They find it easy to win new customers. They have a great marketing message and they reach stacks of targeted people with that message really effectively.
Of course, because their service is pretty average, they tend to lose quite a few customers too. Their customer-base is like a bucket with a leak; it never fills because they are leaking too many customers. If only they offered a great service, they could achieve great things.
The magic mix
Without doubt, the most successful businesses are those with an outstanding product or service and great marketing too. These are the companies that enjoy long-term commercial success, because they not only win stacks of new customers, their quality of service is so amazing that they seldom lose customers. They can plan ahead with confidence, knowing that they have truly developed the winning formula.
Is there a lesson here?
I think so. If you know you offer a great service and you are not achieving the business growth you feel you deserve, take a look at your current marketing strategies. If you enjoy high levels of customer retention and yet are still failing to gain the revenue and profits you want, you need to attract more bankable results; through a more powerful marketing strategy.
If you have little trouble attracting new customers, but find it a challenge to retain their business, it’s usually a sign that you need to focus on the service side of the business. Marketing is important, but ultimately, it is not a magic bullet. For a business to succeed in the longer term, there has to be an excellent service behind the marketing.
In my experience, small businesses tend to focus too much on either their marketing or their service. If you notice too great an emphasis in one of these areas, bring the weaker element up to the high standards you have set in that stronger area. Match your marketing to your amazing service or match your service, to that super-effective marketing you use.