One of the biggest issues I see when I am talking to my small business clients about marketing is them actually understanding what marketing really is and how it can truly help their business. So many have been taken advantage of by the last vendor that called and said they needed marketing and was a single web developer who sold them a 6K website that no one can find, a communications marketing consultant who sold them a brochure that is out of date, or the social media guy who convinced them that even though they are a manufacturing company they need to Tweet. The worst part is all three of these mediums look differently as they were done in isolation and no one looked at the overall Branding for the company or the products and services. To quote Kevin O'Leary "The madness has to end."
Marketing is NOT a brochure or a website, in fact that is such a small piece of the puzzle. Whether you are from the 4P''s which was in my day or the 6 or 7P's of today depending on the day, most people look at one component of Promotion and call that Marketing. So at minimum, let us look at the 4Ps:
Promotion (or what most people "refer" to Marketing)
So when you look at "marketing" for your business, you need to look at how all of these interact with each other, not just decide to do an online ad in isolation. You also need to understand when you spend money on marketing that there is a return. If you are spending $500.00 a month on Social Media and you are not getting leads or new customers from it over time - that is probably not a good investment for your business. You could - but because it was done in isolation it maybe was not looked at properly.
Marketing should be planned based on your goals and objectives. If you set a goal for your company of increased sales of 20% and you do not know how you are going to get there, that is a problem. Your marketing plan and budget needs to be tied to these goals and you need to know how to measure success. Some things are known within the industry to work or not work, but sometimes trying new promotional mediums is a bit of trial and error. The key is to know how to track a return. If you can't , don't spend the money. If someone tells you that you "need" a brochure and they can give you a deal for printing 5000, ask yourself - do you need a printed brochure? How long would it take you to get rid of 5000 and will it be out of date by the time you use 100.
Do not look at marketing in a piece meal fashion. If you don't understand it, then find someone to help guide you through the maze, but do not purchase based on "hoping" this will increase awareness or sales. Make an informed decision. You need to look at marketing as a whole for your particular business as it differs by industry and market. Retail, Manufacturing and Service Organizations have very different products and services, very different ways of pricing, and sell differently. If that is true, promotions are different as well, so make sure you look at all of it together before purchasing.
Marketing by definition is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services and encompasses all of the Ps, not just one. Before doing marketing for your business, understand what marketing truly is and how it will work for your business and how it will help in meeting your sales goals. Look at your marketing as a whole. You may not be able to pay for everything you need today, but understand what the key things you need are and wait for the others. Planning and doing it the right way with a budget will save you money in the long run.
RK Fischer & Associates