Written by

Candace Gerlach


25th January 2022



I was lucky enough to escape my young kids for a few nights recently. Without the sound of ‘Mummy’ on repeat like a scratched CD (yes I am old enough to remember what those are), no meals to cook or nappies to change. It was pure bliss.

At dinner on the first night, we got chatting to a lovely man called Bill. Bill runs his own business, specifically in the trade of selling data to pharmaceutical companies. He’s a programmer in fact, so had cleverly found a way to collect data from across the globe and sell it to companies that go on to use it for research purposes to fuel their own growth. 

The point of the story is, as he was building his business, he didn’t charge much at all for his data. In fact, in the early days, he was collecting so much data for so many different types of organisations – he exhausted all of his resources and didn’t get much traction. He didn’t have a good sense of what type of business he should be targeting, what his company (brand) stood for, he wasn’t visible to anyone, he certainly wasn’t doing anything consistently and ultimately hadn’t built up any credibility in the market so lost out to his competitors. Selling his data relatively cheaply was the only way he could survive. 

As I looked intently at Bill telling me this story, I thought; ‘How on earth have you made this business a success?’ And then the penny dropped as he went on to say, ‘… it was only 5 years down the line when I researched where the biggest need was and honed in on a specific customer profile, positioned myself more clearly in the market, communicated my brand consistently so that people got to know, like and trust it – that I realised how much my data was actually worth.’ Halleluiah.

That little story was so significant. When I introduced myself and my business, his opening line was; ‘Oh I know absolutely nothing about marketing, we should swap numbers.’ Well Bill, I disagree. You know everything about marketing!

As we enter into a phase of inflation, where rising costs are a hot topic across the country – it’s important to think about how your brand will fair in light of your marketing efforts to date. Back when I worked in corporate, there were often discussions with senior leadership about the trade-off between short term performance marketing activity to drive ROI vs. building the brand for long term gains. It’s never an easy conversation to have when a business wants to grow quickly, but as marketers we all know how important brand is when it comes to a consumer’s buying journey and decision making.

That said, it does depend where you are on your business journey. With limited resource and budget, it’s always sensible to focus on the low hanging fruit i.e. existing customers, first party data lists, search marketing. But no matter where you start, being clear on what your brand stands for, who you’re trying to reach, what they care about and how you build loyal customer relationships – are the foundations every brand needs to develop effective marketing strategies.

Going back to Bill for a minute. It took him 5 years to realise the error of his ways. And I while I love the fact he turned his business around, creating a launch pad for your brand doesn’t have to be a long, laborious, expensive task. Going through the motions of getting laser focused on who you want to attract, what they care about and how your brand has the perfect solution for them – is powerful, meaningful and impactful.

Once you build the foundations, the rest of your marketing efforts fall into place much more easily. For example:

  • You can reach ‘your people’ more effectively because you know where they are.
  • Your messaging speaks directly to them because you know what they want and need.
  • You create a consistent brand experience because you know what you stand for.
  • You focus on the things that will have the biggest impact; saving time and money in the process.
  • Your target audience will start to know, like and trust your brand – giving you a competitive edge.

Marketing has changed over the years but the foundations haven’t. Bill thought he had no clue about marketing but in actual fact, he knows everything about marketing. He’s built a credible brand that solves a real-life problem. His customers pay him for the solution he has built because they need it and trust it. 

Be more Bill. 

If you need help getting crystal clear on how your brand can stand out in a competitive market, we can take you through our launch pad process that will help set your brand up for long term success. Get in touch and let’s talk.