Do you ever wonder what people’s intentions are, based on their actions? What about businesses and their intentions?
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Intentions of Businesses
I have been thinking about how businesses approach their audience or potential audience. How they communicate with their clients, prospective clients, referral partners or vendors. Do they approach these activities with the intention of selling something? Do they approach the interactions with the intention of building a network or as my friend Sarah Robinson would say, building a “Fiercely Loyal Community?” I believe sadly that too many businesses pay lip service to building a community and building relationships, but at the core of their actions, they only want to sell something. The business does not develop and incorporate a strategic plan that integrates marketing with their business plan. The prevailing thought is, by doing certain things such as building a website, sending an occasional marketing email, going to trade-shows or networking events, having a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel, etc., will lead to increased sales. Will it? Maybe. Is it guaranteed? NO! Nothing is guaranteed in marketing, social media or business! BUT what I can promise you is this: if a business only enters marketing, social media or any other business activity with the sole purpose of selling something, the public WILL catch on and will eventually stop responding. The public may respond initially, but that will soon pass. To me, it’s like a company that offers a sales incenctive to their sales people. The incentive will only work for so long! Contests will only work so many times!
Why is This So Hard?
Why do businesses have such a hard time with this? For a few reasons: One, business owners stay too busy working in their business but not working on their business. The original business plan, if there was one, doesn’t receive regular thought, review or updates. Plus, it seems that business owners still do not implement strategic planning into their business or into integrating a marketing mindset as part of that business plan.
I also think we have advertising and marketing sales people to blame. Sorry ladies and gentleman, but for too many years these professionals have pushed the results of advertising in this magazine or on this site or on this radio station as a method to drive sales! Every option, every single advertising, marketing or PR action has been driven by sales. Think furniture stores and automotive dealerships. Everything is about driving sales. I get it, you have to sell something to keep the lights on and pay employees. We all know that. BUT we don’t have to drive it down people’s throats!! The sad part is, we still see that today, even with the proliferation of social media!
Okay, I have been on a bit of rant, but this is frustrating! Individuals have known this forever; we accomplish more, we achieve more and we enrich our lives by building relationships! Our parents and certainly grandparents knew this; if they needed a doctor, lawyer, plumber or anything else, they didn’t depend on advertising, they asked neighbors or family members for recommendations! When did we lose that? When did we become, and why did we become a society that relied upon advertising and gimmicks? Or, have we never relied on those gimmicks? Well, luckily the tide has shifted or shifted back again; people are patronizing and giving business to companies that work to build relationships with their client base! There are still a large number of businesses that need to learn this, but that is where consultants come in; to educate, to teach, to show how this should work!
What is my intention in writing this post? To continue this conversation; to make sure we businesses understand that strategic planning and developing a marketing plan has to include building a community.