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Marketing is like building a house; start with a good foundation

Marketing is like building a house; start with a good foundation

Good marketing is built upon a strong foundation. A belief in your product or service. A desire to build something durable and lasting. And of course, the motivation to make a profit.

Start with the blueprints

Just like building a house, you need plans to guide yourself along the way, and to keep everyone working towards the same goal. It doesn’t mean you can’t change your plans, but knowing how a change will fit into and affect your overall structure is important.

Your business plan should outline how you’re going to grow, what you need to accomplish, what constitutes success, and how you’re going to get there over time. It’ll likely contain a strategy and action plan for meeting your goals too.

Make a list of supplies

Any good home builder will first make a list of the tools and materials they’ll absolutely need and devise a timeline for when they’ll need them. You’re not going to order roofing materials before you build the walls. Likewise in marketing, certain deliverables will be required or desirable as you grow. You may want them all at once, but that’s not always practical. So prioritize what you need and let your plan guide you along the way.

Start with the first floor

Typical marketing basics you’ll need are: a logo, a positioning strategy, a unique selling proposition, essential business elements such as phone number, emails, and a web domain so you can put something onto a business card. And perhaps you’ll need stationery. No you don’t have to run out and print up fancy letterhead and business cards for everyone, but you should have them ready to go and available to those who are the face of your organization.

Today, you’ll likely also need a basic website and various social networks set up. You don’t have to build the end-all-be-all website at the start. But it should provide insight into your business, your products or services, and provide a means for people to contact you. Your social network accounts should be set up at least minimally so you control your business “handle” and can monitor the social media channels for activity. Consider it a modern cost of setting up a business - just like obtaining a phone number - you need to be easy to connect with however your audience desires to do so.

After the ground floor, move onto the second

Eventually, you’ll be ready (and eager) to create sales and support collateral. Things like corporate brochures or a catalog, sell sheets, email templates, a presentation promoting your business, etc. The list can be endless, but again, try to prioritize. Your plan will guide you and indicate what you need to “order” to build out your next phase

Add the roof

I like to think of the roof of any business as it’s people and it’s partners. Hire the right team and you’ll be kept out of the elements and be safe and cozy. Hire the wrong folks and you’ll find leaks and trouble pouring in on you. So pay attention to your roof. Don’t skimp on it or you’ll be moving buckets around to catch the rain.

A solid team and strong alliance of partners will also help you continue to build your business while the storms whirl outside your windows. You’ll be able to continue working on your business mostly worry free. Just be ready in case a tree crashes through your roof.

Moving onto the finishing work

You’ve laid a good foundation, built a good ground floor, added your second, and installed your roof. Now you can return to each of them and start your finishing work. The basics – the “bones” – are in place so you can work in relative comfort to finish it off.

At this point you might also need to hire contractors that are specialized in their fields. Just like few people are qualified or capable of doing their own plumbing, electrical, or carpentry, you may find it necessary to bring on additional partners that offer your specialized services.

Maybe a web developer will be needed to update your website or a copywriter necessary to add more or deeper content. A graphic designer might be required to design a trade show booth or advertisements. Or it might be time to bring on a social media team to help manage your engagement and to build your audience.

Just as before, consult your blueprints to see where you are in the process. Yes, a change of plans may be required, but if you don’t have a plan, you won’t know how one change will affect everything else.

Keep things tidy, redecorate regularly, or you’ll collect dust

The sad realty, even after you’re completely done building your house it’s never really finished. Just like with your business you’ll always find things you’ll want to change or add or paint over. Plus you’ll need to perform regular maintenance so things don’t start falling apart. And components of your marketing will need to be changed from time to time as they wear out. But hopefully what you’ve built will last for generations and keep being renovated and re-imagined by your children’s children.

Apr 17, 2015
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