Here are ways you could be cutting corners, particularly in terms of the quality of your marketing:
- Do you hire the cheapest designer to slap together your business card, website, and logo at that low, low price you love, knowing that you are short-changing yourself on quality?
- Do you print your marketing collateral on the cheapest paper just to let the world know who you are immediately?
- Do you make do with inefficient information systems just so you can save on licensing fees and avoid the initial research effort?
- Do you buy the cheapest equipment you can get your hands on just to have something NOW?
- Do you catch yourself thinking “I’ll just get something happening now. We’ll do it properly later once we have the cash. No one will notice.”?
Some of these things may appear trivial at first glance, but they do make a massive impact on how you are perceived by the outside world. Whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, we humans are very good at gut-feel.
You may well have everything perfectly laid-out on your marketing collateral, but if it is printed on poor quality paper or the colours aren’t quite right or your logo is blurry, subconsciously people will feel that you’re somewhat dodgy. Your customers’ sensitive gut-feel will catch you out.
There’s no point having all your hard work dismissed because you took an inappropriate shortcut! Even with ultra-time critical projects, don’t ever compromise just to meet a deadline – get it as best you can within a reasonable (yes, very grey word!) timeframe.
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When cash is tight, get creative about value-exchanges between yourself and a supplier of supreme quality. Seriously think outside the square on this one. Don’t just limit (or confuse) what you can immediately offer them, with “what you know how to already do”. Explore other avenues (like helping them explore new markets, introducing them to valuable people, or providing value to some third party, such as a favourite charity they care about) that could provide them with momentous value. You will be surprised how open businesses and individuals are to these arrangements if you can make the case for value.
Stop and think about what you are trying to achieve. Would your customers really notice yet a-n-o-t-h-e-r brochure? How can you get your message across WITHOUT using conventional channels? Can you discover a whole new way of publicity that is more in alignment with what you do and what you are about?
There is no shortcut to genuine value, and NO substitute for quality marketing! If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.