Marketing and the Law of Attraction: Align your marketing strategies with your overall business intentions

(Note: this article was originally written in March, 2007)

Maybe it’s just me, but everyone seems to be talking about intentions these days.  Not surprising, given the buzz created by The Secret, which focuses on the Law of Attraction and the importance of setting intentions to attract what you really want.

This talk of setting intentions and aligning your thoughts and actions must have been on my mind today during a meeting the owners of a small business in the service industry.  As I listened to the business partners describe the various efforts they had made during the past year to grow their business, a certain phrase grabbed my attention.

“We just need to get the word out.”

After a powerful discussion about the importance of building relationships with prospects and clients over time, one of the partners explained to me that they were going to purchase a billboard ad in their efforts to grow their business and get clients.

I asked the business owner to repeat that last sentence, certain that I didn’t hear her correctly.

“Yes, we are going to purchase a billboard ad and possibly some additional magazine ads in order to get the word out about our business.”

In my experience, ads don’t do much to help service professionals get clients and generate referrals.

Lest I dirty my name with the advertising community or insinuate that my colleagues should not use a billboard in their marketing efforts, let me say this.  Ads can be quite effective for certain companies and for certain projects.  I just find them to be largely ineffective for the service professional who wants to get booked solid.

The reason?  For the service business, it’s all about building trust and credibility with your clients.  And choosing the marketing tools that will cultivate the “know, like and trust” factor.

A billboard may be highly effective in prompting me to pull off the highway for an unplanned visit to Starbucks, but it won’t prompt me to purchase a massage or facial, list my house with you, retain you for legal services or hire you as my coach. After seeing the billboard, I *might* remember to Google your business name when I get back home, but probably not. Unless I have a notepad in the car with me when I pass your billboard and want to risk writing it down while driving (I drive a stick-shift), chances are great that I will forget the name by the time I get home.

Back to today’s meeting…

So before I could formulate a follow-up question to their announcement about the billboard, I heard the partner reiterate their desire to “get the word out.”

Now I understood.

Their decision to purchase a billboard ad was based on their intention to “get the word out.”

Unfortunately, our meeting came to a close before we could revisit their primary goals for the business.  Based on the first part of our conversation, I thought it was attracting new clients and building relationships with strategic partners.

While “getting the word out” and “attracting new clients” are related, they are different intentions. Different goals that yield different outcomes.

From my perspective, “getting the word out” is about creating brand awareness and brand recognition.  Certainly, being known in your marketplace is an important aspect of getting booked solid.  And, I commend these business owners for thinking bigger about ways they can spread the word about their services.

Whether the billboard is the most effective outreach tool is one question…but, not the most important question.

The underlying question is about intentions - “getting the word out” vs. attracting new clients. What intention is most closely aligned with the overall results that you seek?  And, which marketing tool is best designed to produce the outcomes you want?

Don’t get me wrong.  “Getting the word out” may in fact result in new clients as a side benefit. But, there’s a distinction between your marketplace knowing about you and actually buying from you. So, you can be wildly successful in “getting the word out” and still have an empty salon.  And, getting the word out may or may not help you build trust and credibility with prospects and clients.

Before you exert another ounce of marketing energy, take a moment to examine your intentions both for your marketing and your overall business.  Then, determine whether your marketing strategies are aligned with your overall intentions (goals).

From that place, then you can decide whether the billboard ad or any other marketing strategy is worth your time, energy and money or not.

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