BRAGGING vs. MARKETING

Recently, I was speaking with a client, the owner of a family owned and operated dairy, who hired us to conduct a feasibility study on starting a creamery to offer locally produced milk in their market.

Earlier in the week, I had received the following email from her, “Woo Hoo! We were announced this week for a grant which I applied for. smile

They were one of only five small businesses in the United States to receive a grant in the form of a customized marketing package from Intuit. This was very exciting news for them!

She asked, “Do you think I was out of line when I sent out that email? I pretty much sent it to family, friends and business contacts – all people we knew; I didn’t send it out to our marketing list or anything”. I asked her why she would ask me that and she told me one of the recipients of that email told her she should not have sent it out – that it was bragging.

This raised an interesting question. When you’re in business and marketing your business, products and/or services, and share something positive you’ve accomplished, is it considered bragging?

Miriam Webster cites the following definitions for the word “brag”:

- A pompous or boastful statement

- Arrogant talk or manner

Here is my take on it: when you are in business for yourself, it is your job to get the word out about your products/services, to build brand loyalty, to “touch” your prospects as often as possible until they think of you first when they have a need.

For example, at Morrison, we do a lot of competitive federal and state grant writing. However, we also do a lot of other services. I would really love it if all of our clients and prospects thought of us first when they think, “Hey, we need a feasibility study”, or “Hey, we need someone to do a special project or interim CFO engagement”.

Is it bragging for us to put together marketing materials that let prospective clients know that (1) we offer these services and (2) that we’re very good at what we do? Many of our grant clients probably think we only write grants; that is how they know us – so it is up to us to get the word out, build brand loyalty and “touch” our prospects as often as possible until they start to think of us for feasibility studies or interim CFO engagements.

For this dairy client, it is their job to do the same. Since they are not yet up and running as a creamery, their opportunities to build brand loyalty and market their business are limited. In my opinion, this is the perfect opportunity to remind people that (1) they exist; (2) exciting things are happening (i.e. the marketing package grant); and (3) fresh, local milk will be coming soon!

I’ll advise my client to continue fighting the good fight, and keep on pioneering down the road of building awareness for their new venture.

About the Author

+Stacy Kennedy is a consultant with Morrison, providing business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, strategic planning), feasibility studies, interim executive CFO services, recruitment, competitive grant writing and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Stacy directly at skennedy@morrisonco.net or via telephone at 530-893-4764 ext. 203.

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