Ask most small business owners these days about marketing and you’ll hear a litany of comments about their website, blog and social media. The remainder will say they don’t need marketing; they get all their business through referrals, but they would like more. Marketing for small business means nothing more than promotion these days, promotion being exclusively web-based.
This is very unfortunate for small businesses struggling in our great recession economy. The time, energy and money being poured into all of their online marketing is destined to be less than optimal and may very well not achieve a desirable end.
First of all, most small businesses lack a strategic plan and a business plan. That suggest they don’t know where they’re going or how they’re going to get there. They are counting on a succession of independent actions online to somehow take them to a desirable place. Marketing is not that simple. As an old mentor of mine use to say, marketing is a science. It is not just a giant exercise in creativity.
Marketing is the hub of all that happens in a company if properly executed. Marketing embodies the company’s vision and choreographs the dance between sales, R&D and operations.
Too many small businesses are unfamiliar with the fundamentals, Michael Porter’s 3 generic strategies:
Or Kotler’s 4 Ps:
Scarier yet are all of the so called marketing gurus out there that are also unfamiliar with the fundamentals. That would include the website developers, bloggers, social media experts and SEO talents that operate only in their own silos. The objective is profit, not Google page rank.
It is essential for small businesses, particularly entrepreneurs and non-employer businesses to get back to the fundamentals in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their online investment in promotion. A company must have a clear handle on its overall strategy before it promotes itself. You want the world to view you in a particular way to make your strategy successful. Blogging the affordability of widgets when your strategy is to get a price premium on a differentiated product may not make sense. Writing website content optimized for the arcane application of widgets in a micro market segment would not help either if your goal was to reach a broader market.
The coordination of your marketing strategy with all of the elements of your marketing tactics is essential. Only when they are addressed and coordinated will your marketing be effective and efficient. That’s Guerrilla Marketing 101.
Your product and your product roadmap must reflect your overall strategy, your pricing strategy and distribution channel. Your promotion must convey a message consistent with all of that. Your marketing calendar should have a consistent message and common objective.
Typically, your offline promotion is designed to drive traffic to your website, blog or storefront. Your online objective is to encourage the reader to take action in the form of placing an order or to call for more information or to opt in your mailing list. This coordination of message and goals and the use of multiple marketing weapons is what makes marketing powerful. This will maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing investment. That’s the kind of marketing that leads to profit. You can’t make payroll with page rank.
Before you invest your next marketing minute or dollar, take a step back. Have you covered the fundamentals? Are you using enough of your available marketing weapons? Have you coordinated your attack on the market with a common message and goal? If yes, you’re ready to engage the enemy. If not, give us a call before it’s too late.