In the past, we tried many of the sales/marketing tactics you really should do as a new (or established) business. Things like trade shows, email campaigns, partnerships, cold sales calls, warm sales calls, flying on planes for in person meetings etc. They all work to some degree and as we were told – if we keep doing them over and over and over – our success rate will increase. And I am sure that’s true. The problem for us was we just didn’t like any of them and we were not interested in hiring people who did. Since we’ve never had any outside investors – we’ve never been on anyone else’s schedule and therefore could grow at any pace we wished.
Looking back – especially at the last 5 years – our marketing has been defined mostly by our lack of traditional marketing. Keeping our product simple and consistent over the years is our marketing. Treating our customers like we treat our friends is our marketing. Being very easy to do business with is our marketing. And creating content that aims to help the industry we serve is our marketing.
It’s not unlike that killer family-owned Italian restaurant (with a focused one page menu) in your city that you just heard about from a friend – even though it’s been there for over 10 years. So you go and you say “Why in the world have I not heard about this restaurant?”. And after it took an hour to get a table on a Tuesday at 6:00pm and after your solid meal and service, your so pleasantly surprised and stoked that you consider calling the owner over to suggest some marketing ideas you have to bring in more customers. But you look around at all the standing and seated smiling faces and realize that the lack of marketing and the consistency of the food and service over the years has created this successful business. You realize that their lack of marketing is part of their secret sauce. And speaking of secret – and the 1hr wait on a Tuesday – you now consider maybe not telling anyone about it! But you head home so delighted that you send a text message to your Mom and a few other close friends that you know would love to be customers too.