I was taught this very early on in my retail journey – by my mentor.  MARKETING IS EVERYTHING – it was one of his favourite sayings!  When I forgot – he would kindly remind me again.  I forgot for the last time – in a crowd of 200 – he called upon me with the question – “Jenn, what business are you in?” – the answer, the one I DIDN’T give is, of course, the marketing business.

So, if marketing is everything how would your business stack up?

Unfortunately, he is right – like he always was – marketing is everything – no matter your business you are always marketing – it’s an inescapable truth.

For the sceptics – I really do mean everything.  Marketing is much more complex then running a big, expensive ad campaign and waiting for the sales to come in.

Marketing is across all aspects of your business and across all customer contact points including your website, your building frontage, how you answer your phone, your marketing campaigns, your sales process, how you and your team present yourselves (in person, on the phone and after hours), how you present your shop, how you present your products and how you deal with your customers – the good, the bad and the ugly – the list is endless because we are talking EVERYTHING.

I owned an amazing kitchenware business with my best friend for many years.  We built it from scratch.  We poured our heart and soul into that business which rewarded us in an endless amount of ways.  We built a successful brand – we worked extremely hard – but our brand became us and we became our brand.

But owning a large retail shop in a regional area also meant you were well known, well respected and well-judged from the outside (we all know the feeling as business owners don’t we!).

We never took that marketing hat off – well occasionally we did – outside our regional centre, well outside!  In the supermarket, I wore my brand because my customers were their customers.  Out for dinner, with my family, I wore my brand because my customers ate there too.  At school board meetings, I wore my brand because they were my customers also.

I’m not complaining – far from it – I’m just making a point.  Marketing is everything.  One of my favourite sayings is “your bank balance is not a reflection of you but a reflection on how well you market what you do”.

So now you know or you have had it reinforced for today (never to forget again!) – have a look inside your business, perhaps from a customer’s point of view, look at your team, how you answer the phone, your uniform (or lack of it), your actual marketing campaigns etc and answer honestly this question “if marketing is everything – what message am I sending to my customers and is it the message I want them to hear?”.  Is the message consistent?  Is the message intentional?  Does it have the ability to grab or create attention, to nurture until your customer is ready to buy and then retain them as a loyal customer?

Marketing is everything – ain’t that the truth!

If you love retail like me, follow along and we can learn together.  Sign up at www.inspiringretail.com.au or follow along on social media @inspiringretail – I’d love to hear your comments, thoughts and ideas – building a small business in retail is tough by yourself which is why Inspiring Retail exists – to connect, educate and inspire.