When I graduated from college, my first job was in the marketing department of a Louisiana-based restaurant company. Part of my job was to work with the general managers to plan and execute various marketing efforts in their areas. But no matter what great events or campaigns we had planned, the cardinal rule in our business was that the operations should never suffer in favor of marketing. Why? Because the best form of marketing is running a solid operation.
That little nugget is not just for restaurants. At Obsidian, we have had clients go “on hold” with us so that they could get their operations in order before coming back ready to grow the business.
Your personal experience
Think about your own personal experience. Let’s say you see a hundred ads for a car dealer offering excellent service and unbeatable prices. You go to the dealership only to find that the salespeople are rude, they will not negotiate below sticker price and it takes them half a day to change your oil despite guaranteeing a 15-minute job. Not only would you ignore the next ad you see about the business, you’re likely to tell your friends and family about your experience, spreading the negative word. On the other hand, if you find a dealer you love, you’re likely to come back and to refer your friends and family.
Are you ready for marketing?
This is not to say that advertising, public relations or other marketing efforts are unnecessary if you run your business well. In fact, they are often imperative to letting potential customers know that your well-run shop is available to them. But if you are ready to market your business, it’s crucial that your operation be able to serve any customers your efforts may bring in – and serve them well! If you do that, you are unlikely to deal with the dreaded negative online review.
What about the second-best form of marketing?
There are lots of ways to market your business once the operations are in place. The second-best form really depends on the type of business you run. Should you use social media, advertising, media relations, direct sales or a mix of various tactics? My recommendation is to hire a professional to help build a strategy that works best for you.