You have to fear the unknown.
I’ve been in marketing for 20 plus years, and one thing that struck fear into me every time I heard it was a client saying “Can you do something for me?”
And then I would respond and say “well, what objectives do you have? What do you really want it to do?”
And they’d go “Oh I don’t know, I don’t know. Al you’re the genius,you sort out.”
Then what would happen is I would sort it out and I would give them what i thought was the best possible whatever it was they wanted, whether it was a website, whether it was an email, whether it was a social channel, whether it was a piece of print collateral, whether it was an event stand – whatever it was I would use my experience and knowledge to create the best thing based on the brief, such as it was that they gave me.
And then I’d show it to them and I’d be proud of myself because having been given no brief I’ve now turned something into nothing.
And then what happens is they go “Oh no that’s not what I wanted”
It’s the worst feeling in the world, because I’ve done all the work I’ve spent all the time, my hard-earned time that I’m never going to get back, I could have spent it with my son, but I chose to take the weak brief that you gave me and use my intuition and knowledge and expertise in marketing to give you something that you’ve now said you don’t want.
So it wasn’t very long in my career before I recognised that actually if you don’t know what you want, I’m not going to be the person to not deliver it for you.
Most of the time when people say that’s not what they wanted, the response from me was always “I thought you didn’t know what you wanted?”
They would reply “yes, but it’s not that”
So you’ve got to get out of going to suppliers and asking them to help when you don’t know what it is you want.
Strategy is about is about moving people beyond what they don’t want to what they do want.
Strategy is vital.
There is no point building a website, sending an email, posting on social media, running an event, hosting a webinar, printing a flyer, there’s no point doing any of it if you don’t have a strategy.
Doesn’t make any sense.
That would just like be getting in the car for a random drive, which is great when you’re just randomly driving on a saturday afternoon and you want to enjoy the country, but when you’re trying to run a business you absolutely can’t just be random about stuff.
One of the biggest issues that you as customers need to deal with before you come to us, because if you come to TepFu and you don’t know what it is you want, we will help you try and get there. But at a certain point if we don’t think you know what you want, we’re not gonna be able to help you.
So the best thing you can do as a business owner is figure out what you want.
What do you want the marketing to do?
What kind of business do you want?
And if you don’t know the answer to that question, you probably need a business coach,
never mind a marketing agency.
What do you want the business to do?
Is it a lifestyle business?
Is it a cash machine business?
Is it something you’re meaningfully building because in five years you’ve got an exit plan or a fundraising plan?
What’s the strategy?
If you don’t have a strategy, the problem is you’ll get what you ask for.
And if you don’t have a strategy and you’re asking for nothing, you’ll get nothing.
You’ll get something that is brilliant but doesn’t meet the brief because you don’t have the brief defined.
I’m sorry to be up on you all, I’m doing it because I care, because I want you to have a strategy, I want you to have a brief, I want you, absolutely, to go to any one of the myriad of marketing suppliers out there, people building websites, people doing seo, people doing pay-per-click, people doing paid social, organic social, video, whatever it is, whatever it is, I want you to go to them with a lovely defined set of objectives, a brief, a strategy.
So that they look at it and go “Oh this is fantastic! Yeah I get all that, we can do this, this”
Because then when they bring something back to you it will be much more likely to be in line with what you wanted, and you’ll get what you wanted, and your business will grow as a result.
It is really that simple.
Strategy is about moving beyond what people don’t want.
So what do you want?
If you don’t know the answer to that, you need to fear the unknown definitely.