Marketing Alone Does Not Grow An Interior Design Company (You Need These Elements Too)

Marketing (Alone) Does Not Grow Your Interior Design Company

Many business owners get confused about what is what, and often want to “do marketing” but “hate/fear/suck at sales.” Let’s talk about why marketing alone does not grow an interior design company.

Key Takeaways

  • Marketing and sales are distinct but interconnected functions. While both aim to attract clients and customers, their activities and goals differ. Marketing’s primary goal is to raise awareness and generate leads, while sales focus on converting leads into customers.
  • Marketing does not directly give you clients, and branding alone does not generate customers. Sales activities are responsible for acquiring clients and customers. However, marketing plays a crucial role in feeding the sales function with leads.
  • Marketing can be divided into branding and lead generation. Branding involves activities that position your brand as a category leader, while lead generation focuses on attracting the right people to your business by providing value and demonstrating how you can help them.
  • The starting point for your business depends on factors such as your stage of business, client base, and financial situation. If you’re new to the business, lead generation should be your primary focus. If you have a strong financial position, you can consider brand development. As your business grows, the focus and investment in different activities may shift.
  • Many interior design company owners prefer marketing over sales because they may make sales about themselves rather than focusing on solving the prospect’s pain points. Additionally, a lack of a systematic approach to sales can make the process daunting. A well-engineered marketing function should send qualified leads to the sales function, and the sales process should include effective communication, trust-building assets, and pre-qualifiers to ensure the right prospects enter the sales pipeline.
Marketing Alone Does Not Grow An Interior Design Company (You Need These Elements Too)
Marketing Alone Does Not Grow An Interior Design Company (You Need These Elements Too)

What is the function of marketing? 

In reality, sales and marketing activities go hand in hand but are far too often confused with each other. While both functions ultimately have the same goal: getting clients and customers – the actual functions and activities are very different, and the goals should be measured differently. 

There’s also no one without the other; however, it’s crucial you know what is what, so you know what kind of results you should expect from these individual activities.

  • You see, marketing does NOT give you clients.
  • Branding does NOT give you customers.
  • Sales activities do that.

But you can’t sell if you don’t have the right people to sell to, so marketing precedes sales. However, you can’t start with marketing if your sales system is not in place.

Goal Of Marketing

Marketing has two main goals:

  • to get more people to know about your brand & business, and raise their hands as potential customers
  • keep your current customers and clients coming back for more.

But, many business owners measure the activity of marketing with the number of sales. That measurement is somewhat misleading since the goal of marketing is not sales in the first beginning!  

So the only role, albeit an essential one, is to feed the sales function with leads that the sales function can then turn into prospects and customers. 

Marketing does not grow an interior design company
Marketing (alone) does not grow an interior design company

Marketing activities: branding & lead generation 

Marketing activities are essential for businesses to establish their brand and generate leads. Furthermore, marketing can be divided into two main activities: brand and lead generation.

  • Branding involves creating a unique identity for a company, product, or service that sets it apart from its competitors. It helps to build trust and loyalty among customers and establishes a strong reputation in the market.
  • Lead generation is the process of identifying and attracting potential customers to a business. It involves various strategies such as advertising, content marketing, and social media marketing to generate interest and encourage customers to take action.

Both branding and lead generation are crucial aspects of marketing that help businesses to grow and succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.

Branding for Your Interior Design Company

Branding is not about your logo or your images. It’s a set of activities carried out by the whole company to increase the awareness of the solution you provide for the specific target audience. Once the particular target audience starts seeing your brand as the category leader – your branding activities can be considered successful.

Lead generation for Your Interior Design Company 

This is a specific activity that, unfortunately, is being missed by most business owners. The majority of businesses focus on the mindless collection of likes and followers or sharing advice on social channels without understanding the function of generating leads. 

The role of lead generation is to attract the right people into your ecosystem, by providing value in advance, and demonstrating how you can help them by actually helping them. To do this effectively, you should create valuable assets, so-called lead magnets, that are of interest to your potential buyers.

What should you start with?

There’s no exact answer to what you should start with, but, to give you a rule of thumb, here’s something to think about:

  • If you are new to the business and don’t have clients yet, or you have occasional clients, then the only thing you need to focus on is lead generation, or to be even more correct: customer generation.
  • If you are new to business BUT you have strong financial muscles, either due to investors or your own investment capital, then you can focus on brand development first.
  • If you have been in business for a long time, have a lot of clients, and have a strong financial situation, then you can focus on brand development.

At each stage of your business, you will need to shift focus and invest in different types of activities. In the beginning, your only focus should be sales.

When you have sales, and you want to scale your business, either by adding more clients and team members, building a highly scalable offer portfolio, turning into teaching your topics to the industry peers, or launching other revenue streams, then branding development makes sense.

Is it possible to start liking sales if you are a designer
Is it possible to start liking sales if you are a designer?

Why do most Interior Design Company owners happily do marketing yet dislike sales?

Many interior design company owners enjoy marketing because it allows them to showcase their creativity, design skills, and unique style to potential clients. Marketing is a way to tell a story about their business and create a brand that resonates with their target audience. It also helps them to build relationships with potential clients and establish themselves as experts in their field.

On the other hand, sales can be more challenging for interior design company owners because it requires them to be more assertive and persuasive in their approach. It can be uncomfortable for some business owners to ask for the sale or negotiate pricing with potential clients. Additionally, sales can feel more transactional in nature, which may not align with the creative and artistic nature of interior design.

However, it’s important to remember that sales and marketing go hand in hand. Without sales, marketing efforts may not lead to actual business growth. Therefore, it’s essential for interior design company owners to find a balance between marketing and sales and develop strategies that work for their business and their personality. This may involve hiring a sales team or partnering with a sales professional to handle the sales aspect of the business.

But, the good thing is this: with well-designed marketing, your sales become easy and joyful. The reason for this is that you will attract people who actually WANT to work with you or buy from you, instead of trying to sell something to someone who doesn’t want it.

Furthermore, many designers find sales uneasy because…

  • They make it about themselves. Sales have nothing to do with you and everything to do with the person whose pain, frustration, or problem you can solve when she’s ready to invest in herself to solve it. Read that again.
  • They don’t have a system for sales. They are not clear about how to confidently invite the prospects to the next step, and what to communicate at different stages of the sales process. 

A well-engineered marketing system will send qualified leads to your sales system. These are the people and organizations who have raised their hands and asked for a solution you provide. 

This means: you don’t have to fear or feel uncomfortable about helping them with your solution.

Aligning Sales & Marketing

To align marketing and sales, your client acquisition engine should include a specific set of pre-qualifiers that ensure only the right people enter your sales activities! By ensuring this, you also increase the total effectiveness of your client acquisition activities. 

In my work as a holistic growth engineer we start engineering client acquisition systems for the interior design company clients we work with, we always start with the end in mind. This means that we specify the most effective sales activity that can and should be practiced by the specific client, depending on their industry, product/ service, price point, target group, and various other key features. 

Once we have identified the most effective sales activity, then we engineer a lead-generating asset that is being used in all marketing activities.

From that, we move on to engineering the bridge between lead generation and sales events: 

  • the magic touch of your communication
  • the assets that build trust, need, and urgency
  • the pre-qualifiers to ensure only the right people end up in your sales activity, with the right mindset and understanding of the problem you solve, how you work, and how they can get started

After this, then we open the traffic gates and start ‘doing marketing’ ie, getting more of the right people into your sales system. 

Why Marketing Alone Does Not Grow An Interior Design Company?

Marketing alone doesn’t grow your design business because you also need to have a solid interior design sales system in place. In case you already have a sales system in place, then marketing is very important.

But if you don’t have a sales system in place, then designing a marketing engine first is crucial for your success!