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We got marketing wrong the first time round - here is what we learnt

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

I’m a lawyer by background. My business partner is a strategy consultant. We like facts, data, contracts and demonstrable ROI. Since my legal days I have had a sub conscious disregard for marketing. It’s fluffy, not ROI oriented (although more so now with digital), it’s unnecessary, you only need it if you have a bad product. All the usual tropes.

And then we left our jobs and bought some businesses. And didn’t market them properly. The negatives that come from under investing in marketing (and sales) are lagging and it can be a considerable amount of time before you realise what has happened. In our case it took years.

When you discover the importance of marketing and commit to it the initial ROI can be awful. SEO changes have no effect after the first few weeks. Paid ads cost a fortune. Direct mailers are inconsistent. You will be tempted to quit – you’ll be able to think of twenty things you could spend that budget on with a quicker and more demonstrable ROI. But keep going. It’s a game of marginal gains. Each week, month and year, slowly chipping away at each channel, improving them by a few ticks here and there.

And because it’s slow, and so hard to keep up, when you get to a place where your marketing is strong and delivering new business consistently and for a good price, you will have built yourself an economic moat against almost all of your competitors.

Because most people are unconvinced by marketing or burned by early and expensive forays into it even when they realise they have to stick at it, it might take them years to catch up.

What an opportunity.


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