A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: 'Fast' versus 'slow' marketing

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

One of the many challenges we face in business is the pressure to get speedy returns from our various marketing activities.

In other words we want to do things that will make us new sales quickly. (Ideally within a few days or weeks.)

I call this 'fast marketing' where we are looking for quick results.

A good example of fast marketing is a letter I saw recently from a well-known car firm. The letter said that if you booked your car in for a service in the next few weeks you would go into the draw for the opportunity to win a complimentary trip for two to Fiji. The car firm is hoping that this offer will inspire their customers to take action and book their car in for a service quickly.

When you look around you'll see 'fast marketing' offers all around you.

These often have a deadline and will give people a reason to take action now or in the very near future.

I know that fast marketing can work well and have used it many times myself.

The other type of marketing is 'slow marketing' where you are not looking for an immediate sale right now.

Instead you are attempting to build a great relationship with someone. So at the appropriate time they will either use (or highly recommend) the products and services that you offer.

Slow marketing is a bit like planting vegetables. You know you will get a nice crop of vegetables in the future if you continually water and feed these plants.

However if you plant vegetables today it will take time to see the final crop.

A good example of slow marketing is doing things to develop a wonderful relationship with key centres of influence. (A centre of influence is a person who can potentially recommend large numbers of new customers to you on a regular basis.)

Imagine if you owned a fitness centre. And you identified that people like massage therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors etc would be ideal centres of influence for you.

You then began a simple monthly programme of adding value to key centres of influence like these.

You would find that within 6 months you would start to get regular referrals from some of these businesses. They will have got to know you in a positive way and could easily suggest that some of their clients try your fitness centre.

However you are highly unlikely to get large numbers of referrals or new business in the first few months of adding value to these centres of influence.

And because we don't get quick results with slow marketing we often forget to do things that will build great relationships with important people in our business.

So which type of marketing is better?

Fast marketing or slow marketing?

I believe both types of marketing should be used in your business.

You definitely want to do things that produce new sales or increased revenue fast.

You could test a new sales presentation with the next 5 people you speak with.

Or perhaps you might try putting a compelling offer on your website that invites ideal prospects to take action now.

You might like to mail, phone or email a number of your past clients and give them a good reason to spend money with you now.

And you also want to do simple things that will add value and build great relationships with the important people for your business.

"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit.
- Aristotle

Action Step:
Look at the marketing and sales activities you are using in your business and classify them into 'fast marketing' and 'slow marketing'. Then make a list of at least 5 slow marketing activities that it might be helpful for you to start doing.

Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report.' www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com (This is free and has now been read by business owners from 27 countries.) You can email him at the link above.

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

Read more by Graham McGregor

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