I have worked for GlobalSpec for nearly a decade. Through the years, our sales team has shared with me different reasons potential customers have decided not to add GlobalSpec to their marketing mix.

Some of these reasons, when I first heard them, struck me as incredulous and irrational. I assumed it was an isolated case – an outlier. But after hearing these reasons repeated every year, albeit by a small number, I’ve come to realize it is reality. However, when these explanations for not spending on marketing were uttered in this current economic climate, I was shocked once again.

Despite my mother’s aversion to the word “dumb,” that is what comes to mind when I hear this rationale. This is not unique to GlobalSpec. You can insert any potential marketing investment in front of the following excuses for saying no.

1) My Web site needs work…so we don’t want anyone to visit until it’s fixed.
Does Wal-Mart close its stores for several weeks while it rearranges retail space to better accommodate shoppers’ preferences and drive more sales? Of course not. Even if you are working on a site redesign, you still want people to discover your company, its products and services.

Nobody’s Web site is perfect. There is always room for improvement. But don’t take yourself out of the marketplace while you work on it.

2) We can’t handle the leads/visitors/customers.
So you may not have a CRM automation system with all the bells and whistles. What are you doing now for people who want to buy from you? You must have some system/process in place.

Start with leads that are overtly expressing buy signals – RFQs. At the very minimum, isn’t there someone in your organization – sales, customer service, a distribution channel – that would be willing to follow-up with a request for quote? Sure, you would maximize your marketing effectiveness if you could nurture and respond to every lead you receive. But if you cannot do that yet, don’t leave money on the table for your competition to grab! RFQs don’t rain from the sky by the thousands so chances are your company can accommodate the time to respond to these ready-to-buy prospects.

3) We have all the business we want.
This one is my favorite. And amazing that we still hear it in a year when the majority of companies are performing below their 2008 revenues.

I get it, you can’t just add manufacturing capacity at the drop of a hat. What do you have lined up three months from now if you are so fortunate to be booked out? Wouldn’t it be nice to have more potential orders that you could pick and choose from – to respond to those that are in your sweet spot and have the highest margin potential or potential for repeat purchase?

If you are going to say no to spending your marketing dollars, make sure it’s for the right reasons – the wrong target audience, lack of ROI, or the medium is not suited to reach your company’s goals. But don’t limit yourself by using the excuses above – they may be convenient, but they may also negatively impact your business efforts and keep you from meeting your goals. 

8 comments

  1. Excellent post, Chris. It’s true… no company has the perfect website. It’s the web, things happen on demand. So having a continuous improvement strategy in place is key. (btw… like your Wal-Mart analogy)

    More importantly, adding a service like GlobalSpec takes some of the pressure off a “less-than-optimum” website. I worked with a client whose website wasn’t very user-friendly, so having a similar service like GlobalSpec allowed them to continue to generate leads while improving their website.

    In fact, a GlobalSpec service, though not a substitute for a well-planned and executed website, is almost required to maintain an internet presence when you don’t have a fully optimized website.

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  2. You can add “too big a dollar risk” as a reason for not adding globalspec.com – that’s why we waited 2 years before trying it and we didn’t sign on until we were able to dip our big toe in on a quarterly basis instead of an annual agreement.

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  3. Targeted marketing is the real message of your article. How can I focus in on those customers that offer maximum potential to purchase my products at the best possible return on investment? Target these prospects with a marketing message that attracts them to your website and your company. For example, “Solutions For Difficult Dust Control Problems”, is the unique selling message presented at http://www.FinnEquipmentSales.com. This message is marketed through various means to a target audience in the power, mining and heavy industrial sectors.

    Joe Finn
    President
    Finn Equipment Sales

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  4. Hi Chris,

    We are carefully considering our marketing options for the remainder of 2009, as well as 2010. Globalspec is on our short list of potential additions to our marketing mix.

    It’s clear that the 3 reasons you list will lead to a business decline over the long term. I would be careful about using the word “dumb”, however, when you write future articles. You could have chosen a different sentence that gets your message accross without potentially insulting your current or future customers.

    Just to be clear, i’m not insulted. I’m a business development manager and consultant who is trying to help you with some well intentioned advice. I hope you consider it.

    Sincerely,

    Rich

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  5. These reasons might just be another way to express resistance to change. Some client objections have two levels: there’s the stated objection, and an underlying, deeper objection that goes unsaid. Getting to the client’s hidden fears is what makes the salesperson’s job so challenging.

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  6. The excuses listed are interesting and I’ll have to add them to my file for later use. Thanks!
    Very insightful to say the excuses are unbelievable, since it is likely that they are not the real reasons for delaying marketing spending.
    I think the excuses are actually a polite cover for the reality that marketing or advertising to customers who have no money to buy the product, is just wasted money. When the Great Recession hits, that means the timing is poor, as are the customers, for spending your marketing dollars. Not wanting to insult the maven or make her feel dumb, nice excuses are used to delay, but not eliminate, the spending of marketing dollars until the timing is more profitable.
    It’s best to go fishing when the fish are biting.
    Live long, and prosper,
    Robert Trout

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  7. Rich, I appreciate your comments. Yes, the word “dumb” may be a little harsh, but I really wanted to get people’s attention. Sometimes, smart people give reasons for saying no to a marketing program without really getting under the surface of what is the true objection…I’ve been there myself. In some cases the real reason is fear that it won’t perform or the wrong target audience. I wrote this article to get marketers to take a closer look at why they are (or aren’t) making marketing decisions.
    Thanks,
    Chris Chariton, GlobaSpec

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  8. Great Thoughts on marketing Chris and from all the members who have posted their views.. You know .. when i go to market my products.. its just not the products.. I provide the best solution at a controlled cost.. If we look from business point of view.. marketing is to market our internal people.. their capabilities and their technical competency..
    Please do share some of your experiences in marketing from time to time..
    Regards

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