How many people know what you do?

That’s the question posed by Kim O’Rourke in the latest edition of the Merrie Marketing Merriezine. It’s a bloody good question for a business to ask itself.

The trouble with trumpetting what you do is that it sounds suspiciously like selling, and that’s just rude, right? I’ve never yet come across a method of selling that doesn’t come across as voracious or demanding, and as a company that has always gained new business by word of mouth there’s something faintly discomfiting about the concept of collaring people and endeavouring to convince them that they should buy our services. A bit desperate, needy even.

However, good manners butter no parsnips. Every business wants to grow, and we’re no exception, so it seems the search goes on for a selling-free method of finding new markets. We’re entirely convinced of the value, benefits and cost-savings of our services and tend to feel that if we come to the attention of potential customers then they’ll also be convinced and sign up – but only if they want to, you understand, we wouldn’t want to be pushy. To say we’re floundering around with our marketing would be an understatement, which is frustrating as we’re extremely good at what we do (we host and manage online services for businesses – see, it took me three paragraphs to even mention it) but are forced to faff around with this marketing stuff. This is entirely the reason why our customers come to us, so that they can continue to do what they do well and leave the nightmare business of technology to us. Perhaps we should start an anti-networking, unselling group? In fact this is exactly why I’m going to Herefordshire Jelly next week – ahh the bliss of not having to sell what we do, to be somewhere where it is actively discouraged. That’s my kind of business group.

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