The Marketing Leap of Faith

In this article, we explore the strategy, method & personnel setup to get your KBB marketing strategy implemented in the most efficient way possible…


When a KBB retail business hits a certain size, the biggest driver of anxiety among the owners of the business centres around generating new sales and enquiries. Common questions include: 

“How are we going to drive enough new sales to sustain the infrastructure and overheads we have built?”

“Who will be responsible for our marketing strategy?”

“What even is the marketing strategy?!”

These are all questions that, without an answer, can lead to an overwhelming feeling of panic and disarray. With rising costs, pressure builds on the business owner to develop a system where sales are made rhythmically over a long period of time.

No longer will boom and bust, feast and famine or peaks and troughs be enough to get by. A stream of regular, quality enquiries that arrive each and every month is the only thing that determines whether the business will be successful (or not). You need a marketing and sales operation that is sustainable and delivers results over the long term.

Up until this point, many retailers have grown organically by delivering high-quality work relying on word of mouth and recommendations from satisfied customers. These types of recommended enquiries are, undeniably, the best kind of enquiry you could ever hope to receive as they often come with a degree of trust already built.

But whilst we all love a referral, relying on them as a means to grow your business is littered with pitfalls. Firstly, they’re as unpredictable as the British weather. You haven’t a clue when the next one might arrive.

It’s also impossible to make them happen – just try engineering a referral for a fully fitted kitchen in a tight timeframe and see what happens. You’ll end up waiting and waiting with no knowledge of when it might appear.

This means that relying on recommendations to grow your business becomes a very stressful situation. You must find a better way.


What is The ‘Better Way’?

The ‘better way’ for many involves employing a marketing person; handing over the marketing baton to someone who (apparently) knows what they’re doing. It means that suddenly the pressure to generate new business is shifted sideways and is no longer on your shoulders. Phew, what a relief!

Although having someone in the office with a degree in marketing and a list of social media accounts longer than your arm is an exciting prospect for the future, it’s fraught with dangers. In the rest of this article, I will explain why…

Firstly, businesses in this position generally employ one of two levels of marketer. It’s either a wet-behind-the-ears graduate that is cheap and cheerful or a more senior marketing person who has years of experience.


The Graduate

One of the big upsides of hiring a graduate is that they are relatively cheap. Depending on where you are based, hiring someone fresh out of university may cost between £18,000 and £22,000 per year. Someone in their second marketing position may cost a bit more.

Generally, they’re pretty savvy when it comes to the latest trends and marketing techniques, and for what they lack in knowledge they make up for with youthful exuberance and energy.

Finding a graduate to deliver Facebook likes and social media engagement is easy. The hard part is finding one who really knows what it takes to generate proper enquires (design appointments). Most lack the knowledge and experience to manage your budget (and time) using the channels that are truly effective. You can’t pay the rent with Facebook likes.


The Senior

If you want to employ someone who is more of a safe bet, you’ll have to pay for it. An experienced marketer who has a fundamental understanding of your business objectives and knows what it takes to achieve them is worth their weight in gold (you’ll be paying upward of £50,000 pa). They’ll know how to manage your budgets, will produce better results quicker and will be proactive, meaning you won’t need to get involved in every decision.


The Downside

And now we come to two (major) downsides.

Firstly, marketing in 2022 requires so many skills that it isn’t possible for one person to do it all. A restauranteur needs a head chef, a sous chef, front-of-house staff and someone to run the bar as well as a pot washer and kitchen hand. The reality is that a KBB retailer needs to have facilities for copywriting, design, paid search ads, SEO, email automation, remarketing, social ads, tracking, reporting and strategy planning. If you can find a marketer who will do all of the above you deserve a medal. Marketing is no longer a one-man job.

Secondly, in this situation, you can waste an astonishing amount of time if you don’t have an effective marketing strategy to work from. I’ve seen many well-meaning business owners employ marketing people but not relinquish control of the overall marketing strategy.

This means that the business owner, who often has little knowledge of marketing and likely comes from a background that involves being on the tools, designing kitchens/bathrooms or managing a showroom, directs the work of the marketer – a situation that culminates in ineffective output and poor return on investment.

Now, some readers may have spotted the irony in this article. It isn’t lost on me. I appreciate that I own a marketing agency operating in the KBB sector but, honestly, I have no hidden agenda here. I’m simply looking to give you the best advice, and that advice is to avoid employing someone in-house and, instead, do one of the following things…

Strategy 1 – Get a decent strategy and team to go with it.

These days, you can find great people who specialise in the areas listed a couple of paragraphs ago. They’ll work on an ad-hoc basis and if you can pull them together with a decent strategy and a small investment of time, you should start to see some good results.

Strategy 2 – Find a salt-of-the-earth marketing agency.

The other option is to find a marketing agency (which has a team possessing all the skills that you need) that aligns itself with your goals and ambitions and will take pride in becoming an integral part of your team. They might not be full-time, but they shouldn’t need to be if they know their stuff and can produce results.


Opportunity Cost

Whatever option you pick, be aware that it is not only money you’ll be wasting if you get it wrong. Time is our number one asset, and we must use it wisely. In my experience, it takes around 6 months to recruit new talent and get an idea of whether or not it’s going to deliver success. That’s a long time to be waiting around for enquiries when you need them!

Opportunity cost is very real, so finding someone who has been there, done it and got the t-shirt yet won’t cost the earth is really going to help you take your business to the next step.


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