Often the most illuminating conversations are those that start well outside the realms of any traditional communication and marketing approaches.  They take place away from the boardroom and outside of the office and typically start with a recognition that the current new business approach isn’t perfect.

There’s a desire for stronger sales support, greater commercial engagement and a clear need to open an open and honest dialogue with new prospects.

Phrases like, “…we keep losing out to the competition”, “…no one seems to have heard of us…” and “…they just don’t understand what makes us different…” are common refrains.

The net result?  A dried up new business funnel and a customer (and staff) base that fails to give you the benefit of the doubt when things go wrong.

So with all this in mind, and in a bid to avoid it, we thought you’d benefit from our take on the 5 early warning signs that indicate you should invest in PR –

New prospects haven’t heard of you

Be honest.  Do your target customers really know who you are?  Do they know why they simply must do business with you?

And more to the point, is your current sales funnel sufficiently strong to enable you to hit and exceed your next set of revenue and profitability targets?

Too often the real issue here is that you spend far too long educating prospects on a one-to-one basis of what you can do.  Amplify this activity.

Create economies of scale and, in the process, create a platform whereby your newly won customer base gives you the benefit of the doubt if and when things go wrong.

Remember, marketing and communications isn’t business spend – it’s a business investment that directly drives future sales, revenue and profits.

Competitors beat you on price

There will of course always be competitors who can claim to offer a competing service more cheaply, but the key is whether customers actually understand where the value in a firm’s products and services actually lies.

You may offer your services priced at a premium, while your competitors may offer their stripped back product and services far more cheaply.  However, if customers don’t understand why your offering is substantially better for them, your competitor will continue to undercut you, and win the work, every time.

Being able to communicate this inherent value is fundamental, and is often only something that can be communicated by creating a clear brand value.

You’ve lost your first mover advantage

Many firms start as industry and sector specific pioneers, only to lose out to nimbler competitors.  Or find themselves distracted with expansion into other areas.  Both of which risk eroding that all important first mover advantage.

Telling the market that ‘you were here first and actually invented the industry’ doesn’t help.  Since new prospects aren’t interested in you – rather, they’re price sensitive and are interested in the problem that you can help them solve.

For our clients, this challenge is all too common.  It’s also something that can be quickly tackled through proactive thought leadership, an ability to start telling a better story and in doing so, to create a stronger position and niche.

You don’t have a brand strategy

Brand strategy.  Horrible phrase, right?  The kind of thing that feels all woolly and a long long way from the daily cut and thrust of sales and winning work.

Yup, it’s true that a brand strategy often gets tainted but the truth of it is that an effective brand strategy sits at the heart of everything you say and do.

It influences the way in which prospects, customers and your staff think about you and your business.  In short, it’s the roadmap that makes you and your business far bigger than the sum of your parts.

Every business needs one – no matter how big or small.

Your marketing spend consists of buying an advert

Ask yourself this – if you paid a barman to stand in the middle of his crowded bar and shouted really loudly at everyone, would you successfully get your message across?

It’s a bit blunt right?  Sure, you’d likely raise awareness to a certain degree and heck, you might even get a few people sidling over to talk.  All good stuff.

However, wouldn’t it be smarter to find a way in which you didn’t have to to pay to shout?  That instead, you could identify those influencers, stood in that very bar, and could ask them to share your message and spread the word?

That would be a pretty powerful third party endorsement – since, if you could persuade those key influencers to believe in you, they’d amplify and endorse everything you were saying.  That there, is the true power of effective PR.

Ready for a chat?

If this has gotten you thinking – you have some questions – or you want to talk to us about what happens next, then please drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.

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