Active vs. Passive Marketing

I was talking to a prospective client a couple of weeks ago and we were discussing the different options available for setting up a business – proprietorships, partnerships and corporations. 

There’s lots of information online about these options, and that’s not what this article is about – this is about growing your business!

When we talked about partnerships we talked about the different ways of organizing them: percentage based, simple office sharing arrangements, and Eat What You Kill systems.  Obviously that’s not the legal description of the structure, but basically it means that the profit from the work that you drum up belongs to you after you pay your share of the expenses.  You go out and get it, and the profits belong to you, plain and simple.

So this got me thinking about this turn of phrase “Eat What You Kill”.  It’s an obvious hunting metaphor, but maybe there’s a little bit more to it than what can be seen on the surface.  Now, I’m not a hunter, but if you think about it there are basically two ways in which you can acquire meat from the wild:  you can trap it, or you can go out and actively chase it down.

The same is true for business.

Trapping is a more passive activity.  You travel along a predetermined route that your prey is known to frequent to set out the traps and then you wait for your prey to be attracted to the bait you left.  Over time a prey who is curious will come to investigate, they’ll start sniffing around and BINGO – you’ve got dinner!  In business this is often referred to as ‘branding’ activities.  Corporate sponsorships, newspaper advertising, websites, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

Hunting is different – it’s more active.  You’re out there tracking down the game you want.  You find where it is right now, what it is doing and even better where it’s headed so that you can get out in front of it and lie in wait.  It is more direct, more face-to-face, and requires active participation at the critical moment of “conversion” (in hunting from wild game to meals for the coming winter, in business the conversion is from prospect to client).  The business equivalent here is networking, cold-calling, direct-mail campaigns, and ‘sale’ promotions, etc.

A good, balanced marketing system will have both of these components.  One that will allow the business owner to go out and actively seek new contacts and opportunities to grow their client base, and one that will hang out in places where clients are likely to come across the business when they are looking for you!