A goal or end game that’s absolutely clear to you. And that should not be about creating buzz around your idea or product. Or the number of twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, website visitors, magazine articles etc. you have.
In terms of your end game, these things are useful and interesting but they’re not the point. Some business owners get obsessed with these numbers, but really that’s just pure vanity.
All of these elements are just steps on the way. Hopefully they’re part of a well-conceived, integrated and co-ordinated marketing plan. Deliberately and painstakingly put together to achieve the one and only outcome that really matters.
What’s your end game? What’s the outcome you dream about?
You have to be absolutely crystal clear about this, or you’ll never achieve it, and your marketing efforts will be a total waste of money. If you’re serious about being an entrepreneur or the next unicorn, there are only two reasons for your company to exist:
- To make a profit to recoup your investors original financial outlay, and then grow bigger to make money for yourself on an ongoing basis.
- For someone to buy you, so you recover your investors original financial outlay, to make money for yourself in one big hit.
You might have a lifestyle business or a social enterprise or charity, and that’s quite different. This could give you endless satisfaction and pleasure and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to get big or get bought, every marketing decision (and every business decision actually), should be driven with this end game in mind.
So if you want to generate big profits by selling products via your website, you can deliberately plan to achieve 5,000 twitter followers, but only if this eventually drives them to your website and they end up buying your products. If twitter doesn’t achieve this, then why have you spent money on it? It will only reduce your overall profitability.
Marketing is therefore a straight investment decision – if you have (say) a marketing budget of £25,000 and invest all the other resources, time and effort to spend it, you have to get at least £25,750 (3%) in increased sales back (not total sales, increased sales). It might take a bit of time, but if you don’t, then it’s all a waste. You should’ve just stuck the money in a bank account or bought some premium bonds – you’d get a better return and it doesn’t take any effort.
Of course, creating ‘buzz’, getting a media profile, becoming well known in your sector could be an essential part of your marketing strategy. One that, in the long term, leads to big product sales or the big sale of your company. But it’s only one step on the path, it’s not the end game itself.