Marketing is hard work


As a marketeer for small and middle sized company I felt reliefed and relighten after hearing the interview of Alf Rehn in marketing summit 2018. The topic was ”What is wrong with a Finnish small and middle sized – companies marketing”. I wanted to share this feeling of relief and insight to my colleagues (who as marketing managers of small and middle sized- companies probably ponder more or less about the same things that I do) and of course to all our beloved Vine blog readers. This bolg post is a mix of aggregation and reflecting the Alf Rehn interview.


So, what is wrong with marketing of Finnish small and medium-sized companies? What needs to be fixed?



1. Do multiple small things well and continuously

Alf Rehn says that in a Finnish small and medium-sized company the problem in marketing is usually the fact that the marketing tasks are tactic individual operations: Fun campaigns and events. Focus is fully in one campaign and during this time other marketing operations are completely forgotten. Instead of individual campaigns we should focus in small everyday things and continuity. Marketing needs to be done every week ”in a constant and boring speed”

”Marketing needs to be done every week in a constant and boring speed”

Rehn thinks presence is the core of marketing. A small marketing operation a day will build something greater. “Ongoing boring marketing is better than rushing”. Marketing is not individual campaigns, adverts and events. Marketing is boring. Marketing is presence and conversation. This is where the issue with marketing in a Finnish company is. I personally felt relief about this “constant and boring speed”- thinking, because sometimes marketing does feel like boring hard work. So we actually are doing it right?

"There is a same problem with small and medium- sized company’s marketing and yearly January gym trend: First you spend all your energy to working out and after a while you forget about the whole thing. Going to gym twice a week is better than doing it every day for the whole January and then quitting. The same applies to marketing: 1 pill won’t make the fat melt away and marketing isn’t fixed at once.

"Continous and boring marketing is better than rushing”

Problems appear also when marketing is done ”when we have time” (this means never) If there isn’t a clear budget and resources for marketing, it will not happen. There is something relieving in the words of Alf Rehn which makes the continuous hard work feel more inspiring in the future.


2. Communicate and be present

Customer relationships, like any other relationship, doesn’t work without communication and presence. Continuity, presence and communication are important so that our customers know that we are here for them. Rehn believes that the problem in Finland is that often the communication towards customer happens when there is a problem going on. Instead of this there should be more ”hey how you doing”- communication. Marketing should be based on desire to communicate with the customer.

“Marketing is communication instead of campaigns.”

Rehn recommends: “communicate to customers like you would be communicating to your wife”. Let’s be honest and nice to each other but let’s not talk about all our problems is life. How does this sound?


3. Think about what you are proud of

” Pride is a great thing, not a sin.” According to Rehn Finnish companies don’t dare to be proud of their own excellence. Are we too kind to be proud of our own accomplishments? I feel a sting in my own heart, because this is how it is. Note to self: “Be proud of your own actions.”

”Be proud of your own actions.”

Dare to tell the customer that I can help you because I can do this better than you. Be proud of your own accomplishments and excellence. I don’t think that pride without excellence and talent leads to anything good.


4. Stand out

”No one is actually unique.” That’s true, but with the help of marketing we can communicate what kind of value we want to give to the customer. Standing out is something that all of us marketeers need to keep in mind. “ If you want to succeed in marketing, you have to stand out.”

How do you stand out from your competitors? Are you trustworthy as a service provider? Do you give the best service? Are you present in your customers every day? Tell your customer via marketing communication how you stand out from the crowd.

”If you want to succeed in marketing, think about how you stand out from the crowd.”

Don’t think about how others don’t do it if it doesn’t help you stand out. You don’t need an advertising agency to succeed, because marketing isn’t about design. Marketing is about what customers buy. What is your way of differing from others and marketing?


5. Try and test

What do you want to succeed with marketing? More sales? Try different options (a/b testing) and you’ll know what works best in your marketing. How do you measure results and why is the testing part of something bigger? Measure the results as precisely as possible so you can develop constantly.

What is the boldest move you can make without losing your customers? Try it! Finlayson with their Women’s day campaings and Tom Of Finland textiles is a great example about being bold. They probably lost some customers but won more new ones. What are your boundarys and possibilites?


You can find the whole Alf Rehn interview as a podcast from BusinessFM here.


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