Hey Mister, Got Any Gas Money?

Brant Kelsey / December 26, 2013

Daily, prospects seek out creative firms looking for “something” that will help them sell more stuff. In our case, that “something” is usually a website redesign, an e-commerce site, a catalog, whatever.

Most of the leads that come to us believe they already know what they need. And why shouldn’t they? They’re closer to their business than we could ever be. They live and die with their business on a daily basis. They’re the ones with a deep emotional bond with their business. I get it. I own a business, too.

The problem is these “needs” are normally self-diagnosed, short-term fixes. “Self-diagnosed” in an effort to save money, or with the preconceived notion an outside firm won’t have the insights needed to serve their customers. Few walk into our office and say, “Here is my challenge, how do you think I might overcome it?”

In my experience, solutions come when you take a step back, take a break, or have someone else help look at the problem. Creative problem-solving is about looking at things with a fresh, new, and often unconventional perspective.

Instead, they self-prescribe a tri-fold brochure, new website, or a fresh logo – a decision that’s been made before they even walk in our door.

One of the questions I like to ask is, “What is your supporting marketing plan after we have completed the [insert marketing tactic here]?” and “How much money do you have budgeted for that plan?”

Most have no plan or know what the marketing budget should be. They intend to spend all the money on the new website on the hope people stumble in it by accident. There’s no money set aside for radio ads, no inbound marketing strategy, no pay-per-click intentions, no SEO plan, not even one ill-advised newspaper ad.

Every marketing program your company embarks on should have purpose. It should support a larger plan. If not, we need to come up with a strategy first. It would be a shame to build a new website and then not have an ongoing plan to drive traffic to it.

The big takeaway here is that getting a new logo, brochure or website is no substitute for a good plan and proper marketing budget. That’s like buying a new brand new car, but not having any gas money.

Gas money is what gets that hunk of steel down the road.

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