Are you an ‘invisible’ company?

One-third of the respondents in our ongoing graphic design survey (take part here) never employ a graphic designer, because they claim they “…don’t produce any marketing materials as such…”. Can this really be true or is there some misunderstanding of what marketing materials are? Certainly if 33% of businesses don’t do any marketing, then many of would be interested to learn about how they get their income without any effort, but the likeliness is that there is something else going on here.

Not everyone needs marketing

Certainly, it is possible to build a business (especially if it is a one-man band business) purely by word of mouth, especially if what you do is incredibly niche, but these scenarios are rare. In most cases, whether they recognise it or not, the majority of business owners do some of form of marketing and therefore will be using some ‘materials’ somewhere along the line. And they aren’t creating their own materials (as around 50% of companies in our survey do), it is simply that they don’t think they need any.

Seriously though, no materials at all?

Let’s look at what you’d have to do to be able to run a business with ‘zero marketing materials’…

Ok, most smaller businesses wouldn’t be doing any TV advertising so they wouldn’t need to create a branded advert, and not everyone does print advertising (magazines, local directories etc) so let’s assume they don’t have a need for any advert designs either. What about printed literature though? No directory, catalogue or corporate brochure, not even a leaflet of any kind? What about a business card, can any business survive without a business card design that can be handed out at meetings? Unlikely I would say, but let’s assume this business doesn’t need those for some reason.

Let’s also assume that they don’t have any sort of physical premises where people visit, like an office, factory or shop, so they don’t need any signage. Or any company vehicles such as vans, so they don’t need any designs for graphic ‘wraps’ to brand those either. We can also assume that they don’t have any promotional items that they give out (pens, hats, mugs, jotter pads etc), or any branded workwear for them or their employees.

Perhaps they never send any emails to any of their clients and only communicate via text or phone calls? It could happen I suppose. It’s probably fair to assume they never go to any meetings, seminars, expos or other events where they would need roller banners, pop-up displays or any other exhibition materials either.

But even if that was all true, what about online? Sure, they may not do any Facebook or Google banner ‘re-marketing’ adverts and they may not even have a page on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc, but could they run a business without a website of their own?

The ‘invisible’ business

It is entirely possible of course, but the chances of a business being able to survive and thrive purely by word of mouth, where prospects don’t want to research the company online or read a leaflet or brochure to learn more about what they can offer, becomes smaller and smaller. Essentially you become an ‘invisible’ company with no discernable presence. Which only works as a strategy, if you can guarantee that referrals and word-of-mouth will give you precisely enough (and consistent levels of) business and you never need any more.

The likeliness is that most of the respondents who feel they have no marketing materials have at least one of the aforementioned items: a website, a Facebook page, a leaflet, printed advert or just a business card, or at the very least, a logo. And if they don’t recognise any of these as ‘marketing materials’ they may not recognise how important it is to design them properly and ensure that their company is presented professionally. Creating any of these on an ad-hoc basis will generally result in marketing that is inconsistent and potentially even harmful to the business. It’s far better to plan your marketing activities and design (or get a graphic designer to design) the materials needed in order to support the plan, and the company branding. This results in a cohesive visual identity for the company and helps build the brand in the right way.

For any questions regarding marketing materials, give us a call we’d be happy to advise. And if you’re not already a subscriber and would like to receive our emails direct to your inbox you can subscribe to our emails here.

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