Survival Strategies for Small Direct Marketers, Part 1 (1,202)
Producing a long-term growth strategy is one thing, but implementing and staying the course is much harder. A plan should be well communicated, continually referenced and reinforced, and should guide all key decision-making.
2. Lack of systems
Without having the systems and controls in place to facilitate the direct marketing model, new or small direct marketing businesses will never be able to grow intelligently and economically.
The advantage of the direct marketing model, if properly executed, is that it allows savvy businesses to provide customers with the right offer, at the right time, with the right merchandise and the right price presented within a relevant, creative presentation. The model is built with processes and equipment that allow you to track results, accurately read them and integrate that information into your marketing, merchandise and creative plans.
It's much easier said than done, but without these controls you're essentially working on gut feel and subjective judgments—neither of which generally foster long-term sustainable growth.
3. Mighty Mouse syndrome
You really can't do it all on your own. And most of the time you should not try to. The Mighty Mouse syndrome is especially prevalent among single-proprietor or family-owned catalog businesses. Most entrepreneurs are great at one of the following: marketing, operations, production or administration. But few are even satisfactory with at least two.
Building the right team, a core of experts to manage the key functional areas of the business, is critical, and management is often short-sighted when it thinks the company cannot afford a new employee or to hire outside help. Usually, trying to do it all will only stymie growth.
This issue is even more important when it comes to direct marketing. There are a multitude of great marketers, merchandisers and creative talent that excel at what they do—but that doesn't mean they understand the complexities of direct marketing or cataloging in particular. Making wise hiring decisions and fostering an environment that provides for ongoing training and learning allows business owners and leaders to focus on what they do best.