Why 'funnels' are rubbish, and marketing is tough.
A look at why the 'buyers journey' is not nearly as easy and linear as we're encouraged to think.
Running a business is challenging. Finding work, finding people to do the work, retaining the staff, getting new business, keeping abreast of technology, innovating, managing the day-to-day but also keeping an eye on the horizon.
We’re really lucky in that we’ve got our team right, we’ve got great clients who we’ve built good relationships with, and over the last few years we’ve had the opportunity to really review and improve our internal workflows so that we’re using the best available tools in the most efficient way. We’ve matured significantly as an organisation in recent years, and there’s a lot to be pleased about. We’ve got a good thing here.
But our real challenge at the moment is not being the world’s best kept secret. That is to say, marketing.
And marketing is tough. In a world of ‘me too’ offerings, how do you develop the right message that actually tells people about your business in an honest and believable way? That highlights your true value – and values – in a way that differentiates you from everyone else? And how do you then get that message out there, reach the right audience - and perhaps most critically, do so at a point when that audience actually has a need? Sometimes it feels next to impossible.
And the thing is, although everyone needs to buy stuff now and then, nobody wants to be sold to. We’re told to put ourselves in the shoes of “the buyer” and understand their needs and their ‘journey’; but as Drew Williams put it so excellently:
“The buyer's journey, which is most often defined as an orderly march down a funnel-shaped thing, is more often beset by a range of shiny objects, conflicting egos, power grabs, FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), budget shifts, priority shifts, urgent and important fires to extinguish, as well as various other threats to goals and timelines that show up daily in our businesses. In short, stuff happens.”
At many points in Freshleaf’s history, we haven’t done any marketing at all. We’ve had a lot of business through word of mouth and referrals, and often that’s been enough to keep us really busy. Freshleaf is founded on the idea that if you turn out high quality work, treat your customers right and never ever do the easy thing instead of the right thing, then business will thrive. And for the most part, that's been our experience
But there comes a point when a business is looking to grow, and at that point its time to take a closer look at what’s good about our company, then take leap of faith and try some different methods of getting that message out there.