Small Business


I have just left a client who has been trying to establish a business which uses a whole range of marketing activities including a fairly significant Internet marketing effort. Whilst many of the other marketing activities were showing reasonable results and he was able to evaluate them using clearly defined criteria, his Internet marketing activities seemed to be producing little or no return.

He had spent not inconsiderable amounts of money on Marketing activities – although when we eventually started to look critically at the numbers, he was clearly trying to get away with doing the Internet side “on the cheap”. This was partly because of some skepticism around this new marketing tool and partly to preserve as much money as possible for what he saw as more conservative or conventional activities – although I would hardly rate Internet marketing as unconventional in this day and age.

Each time we had discussed the allocation of more resource to the Internet side, it was met with some resistance and the “I cannot afford to spend any more there” story. And yet the Marketing results were still not optimal – all other things being considered. At review meetings, everybody was still saying that we should be generating better results from the Internet activities and we had been able to establish that some of his competitors were having considerable success with their Internet marketing.

Eventually the crunch came – budgets had to be cut and something had to go. But in order to decide what he should cut from the budget, we did one final review. Brutal honesty was the order of the day.

We looked at each and every activity with a critical eye – then turned it over and did the same again. We looked very closely at what he was doing, where he was doing it, how it was being done and who was doing what.

Slowly the realization began to dawn – the resource he was using to drive his Internet marketing activities was far too lightweight for the job that needed to be done. But that was the only resource that he believed he could afford – how could he throw much stronger resources at something which he did not know was going to work?

It was the old story – he thought that he was doing the right things in that arena but in fact, he had employed a thimble and expected it to generate a waterfall. But how could he now justify upping his spend in this area at a time when he was supposed to be cutting back?

After much soul searching and revisits to every area of the marketing budget, he decided that it was more a matter of ”could he afford not to” than could he afford to!! He needed to strengthen his Internet marketing area significantly – he went out and found himself a bright young Masters graduate in IT, put the appropriate resources behind the job and has never looked back. His Internet marketing activities are now producing spectacular results.

Frequently in business we are confronted with this dilemma. How often do we allow conventional wisdom to prevail? How often do we not question the paradigms which keep us comfortable? How many times do we doom something or someone to failure simply because we do not provide the commitment and resource needed to succeed?

How strongly do we defend positions because we are too scared to admit we may have been wrong?

Why do we lack the courage to change?

How often do we say “can’t afford to do that” when in truth the business cannot afford NOT to do it.!!!

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