This is a really interesting client.
This company has been around for a few generations and have done absolutely everything to survive the recent tough times,
They employ nearly 100 people and insist on manufacturing their products themselves in Ireland to preserve the quality control and the ability to provide the best solutions for their customers at all times.
They have their own retail outlets and also sell through some stockists.
They purchased a similar business overseas for the sole purpose of acquiring more potential volume so that production levels are kept up and the production facility remains viable.
One of the survival tactics like so many businesses during the recession was to cut back on overheads and cut out ‘unnecessary’ costs.
Of course the first to get the chop was the Marketing budget… advertising gone, sponsorships gone, exhibitions gone, customer evenings gone and PR gone.
Despite chopping these budgets the wheels didn’t fall off the business (well not immediately) – of course it didn’t as the business had a long established reputation, good recognition in the sector and a big collection of legacy customers who knew all about them.
A few months went by and the sales dropped, a few more months passed and they dropped again and so on. While the sales did not plummet immediately the lack of promotional activity meant the business gradually disappeared from view.
An aggressive overseas competitor spotted the gap and entered the Irish market, got some fantastic deals on adverts and started to win significant business.
The client has a large business with big payroll costs, an expensive production facility and a retail network all requiring big sales volume to sustain and there is virtually nothing being spent on attracting new business.
This is the “priority trap“.
We were preparing a plan for them but we were warned in advance that the budgets for promotion were tiny – surely generating new business was essential?
If you don’t invest in ‘telling your story‘, promoting your products and getting those wheels turning you will eventually have no business.
Should the first priority for the business be promotion and not the last?