“How has business been going for you?” Fred asked James. 

“It’s crazy busy,” James replied, “We are booked all the way into next year. I’ve never seen it like this. We just can’t keep up.”

How many times has a conversation like this happened in Anabaptist circles in the last year? Many of our businesses are thriving like never before. Employers are having trouble finding and keeping employees to handle the surge of work. 

If your business is in this situation, you might wonder whether you should stop your marketing campaigns. After all, why invest in marketing when you are deluged with orders? This article provides insight into this question. 

1. You couldn’t stop marketing even if you tried. 

“Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.” – David Packard

The statement, “You couldn’t stop marketing even if you tried,” doesn’t make sense until you realize that marketing is much more than spending money on advertising. 


In a broad sense, the scope of marketing encompasses everything that the customer experiences with your business: product quality, packaging/presentation/delivery, website or catalog, your sales process, your clear and understandable estimates, the way your people relate to customers, special events, and more. 

Why invest in marketing when you are deluged with orders?


That’s why I don’t believe business owners who tell me that they don’t do any marketing. And that’s why you can’t stop marketing even when your business is thriving. As these two quotes explain, marketing is integrated into nearly all aspects of your business:

“Marketing is not only much broader than selling, it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view.” – Peter Drucker

“Companies think that marketing exists to support manufacturing, to get rid of the company’s products. The truth is the reverse, that manufacturing exists to support marketing.  The company can always outsource its manufacturing. What makes a company is its marketing offerings and ideas.

Manufacturing, purchasing, R&D, finance and the other company functions exist to support the company’s work in the customer marketplace.” – Philip Kotler

2. Marketing cannot be turned on or off like a faucet. 

“Flywheel: A heavy revolving wheel in a machine that is used to increase the machine’s momentum and thereby provide greater stability or a reserve of available power during interruptions in the delivery of power to the machine.” – dictionary definition 

In spite of the previous point, I understand that in a narrower sense it is possible to throttle back (or accelerate) your marketing. For example, your marketing budget may be more or less some years than other years. You can turn off your advertising spend (not recommended), but you can’t switch off your marketing. 

Was reaching the point you are today something that happened overnight or was it a gradual process? You likely know from experience that investments in your marketing don’t typically yield an immediate return. Marketing is more like planting seeds than buying plants at a greenhouse. Therefore, when you dial back your marketing, the big flywheel of your business will keep spinning for a while before it slows to the point that you begin to notice it. 

Once the flywheel slows (as it surely will), ramping the revolutions back up takes time, just like it took time for you to reach the point where you are today.  


3. You need to be in a strong position when times change. 

“Forewarned is forearmed.” – Roman proverb

Business goes in cycles, with upturns and downturns. That’s certain. What is uncertain is the timing and the duration of the different stages. This current upturn will eventually soften, and continuing to invest in marketing now can build a solid foundation for when times aren’t so good. 

4. Competitors are entering the market. 

“There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton

Strong demand within a market is like a “Welcome, Come On In” sign to entrepreneurs or existing businesses looking to expand. They smell the opportunity and as a result, you have new competition. That’s not a bad thing—it’s actually a good thing for the customers we are trying to serve. Now they have more options to choose from and there is more supply for the pent-up demand. 

Humorist Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” From your point of view as a business owner, the increased competition is one more reason you should continue your marketing activities even though right now you might be buried under orders. 

Strong demand within a market is like a “Welcome, Come On In” sign to entrepreneurs.


5. This is an ideal opportunity to focus on your niche market.

“When we seek to serve the largest possible audience, that audience will turn us down.” – Seth Godin

It’s hard for a business to be everything to everyone. That is why we should work to specialize, focus to develop our expertise to serve a specific small slice of the market. 

In recent years, one construction business has been able to stop taking on typical projects to focus almost exclusively on its specialty of restoring old structures. Another company sold off one of its product lines to focus entirely on its main product line. This will reduce overhead and enable the company to better serve its best customers. 

Perhaps you don’t serve a narrow niche, or you serve several niches. Could you narrow your focus or drop one of your smaller markets to focus on the market with the most potential? 

6. This is an ideal opportunity to work with only ideal customers. 

“No company in its right mind tries to sell to everyone.” – Philip Kotler

Related to the previous point, when business is going strong, you can say “no” to some projects or clients that you would normally take on. This freedom allows you to focus on customers that are the best fit for your company or projects with the highest profit margins. 

Of course, you will need to continue advertising and marketing to attract these ideal customers. The business you decline can be passed along to competitors in the market. 

7. This is an ideal opportunity to improve your marketing. 

“Improve by 1% a day, and in just 70 days, you’re twice as good.” – Alan Weiss

Strong profits allow you to address weaknesses in your marketing program. I know it may not feel important to you when you are busy, but schedule some time (or hire someone else) to review your website, brochures/catalogs, sales process, display room, and more. Are there weak links?

  • Are prospective customers able to find you easily?
  • Do you have a clear, appealing message?
  • Do your colors and images appeal to your ideal customer?
  • Are your pricing and process easy to understand and follow?
  • Are you staying in touch with current/past customers to encourage repeat business?
  • Is your website easy to use, especially on mobile devices?

Strong profits allow you to address weaknesses in your marketing program.

8. This is an ideal opportunity to strengthen your operations. 

“With uncertainty rising, if you ‘under promise, over deliver,’ you will not only keep the customers satisfied; you’ll keep the customers.” – Tom Peters

I know you probably don’t think of operations as part of marketing, but as I explained in #1, operations are connected to marketing because they impact customer experience. 

If your operations are haphazard or unorganized, there’s a good chance your customers will be affected by issues such as defective products or delays. Your operations enable you to deliver on your promises. Operational excellence is a win for both you and the customer—better efficiencies, higher quality, and greater capacity.

What are the bottlenecks or weaknesses in your operations? Now is the time to address them. 

9. No customer stays forever. 

“I intend to live forever, or die trying.” – Groucho Marx

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2).


You may have more customers than you need right now, but customers eventually move on. Their business fails, or they go in another direction, or they enter a new season of life, or they switch to a competitor. Even your most loyal repeat customer will eventually die. Continuing your marketing through good times and bad times keeps your pipeline from drying up.

10. Consistency is part of effective marketing. 

“The market has been trained to associate frequency with trust . . . If you quit right in the middle of building that frequency, it’s no wonder you never got a chance to earn that trust.” – Seth Godin

There is a paradox with us human beings. We enjoy variety and chafe at monotony. At the same time, we thrive on predictability and consistency. 

Consistency is an element of effective marketing. If you dial back your marketing activities too far, you will lose the advantage of consistently showing up in front of prospects over time. Another business will take your place in their brain space. 

Conclusion

Like many of you, at Rosewood Marketing we’ve been very busy. But we’re not pulling the plug on our marketing. For example, Lord willing, this column will continue to appear, just like you are accustomed to reading it every month. 

If you are busy, it means your marketing is working. If something is working, don’t stop doing it. Instead, finetune it to work even better to achieve the goals that you set for it.

About the Author: Marvin Martin is head of sales and marketing at Rosewood. The Rosewood team guides business owners through marketing challenges into sustainable growth. Contact Marvin at marvin@rosewood.us.com