This may come as a surprise but, if you’re not happy with your marketing, you are not alone. How could that be? Are so many small businesses simply that bad at marketing?
Well, not really. They just have the wrong ideas about marketing. When expectations don’t meet reality the gap can feel like a bucket of ice water got dumped over your head. (And if you took the ice bucket challenge, you know what that feels like.)
There are a few reasons for this level of small business marketing discontent. Let’s take a look at the ones SMB owners experience most frequently and see which one(s) match your expectations:
One: The wrong perception:
“Marketing is easy. Anybody can do it, really.”
This idea comes from our constant exposure as consumers to marketing that ranges from from Fortune 500 corporations to local Mom and Pop shops. We see the final results but we don’t know how much time, work and money went into creating them. Having spent my career in marketing I can tell you that what you see on the internet, the TV, the Super Bowl, or in your email box is not even the tip of the tip of the iceberg.
If you think that marketing is easy, you won’t put much time or effort into doing it and that will show. Marketing done right takes careful thought, strategic planning, creative ideas and attention to detail.
Sometimes it involves taking risks. The marketeer who approved the “Got Milk” campaign took a huge risk on an idea that might have flopped after they paid all those celebrities to get a milk mustache. Ditto for “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” What if nobody got the joke? When it comes to creativity and innovation, there are no sure things.
Two: The silver bullet theory:
“I don’t need to do all those different things—just the one that will really work.”
This idea is really prevalent in the high tech industry, where engineers often run the companies. They find marketing somewhat suspect because it can’t be pinned down neatly and quantified in advance.
So when a marketing manager (or director, VP or CMO) recommends an integrated campaign that includes multiple approaches and content aimed specifically at target audiences, they balk. It’s too big, too expensive, too risky. They insist on doing just, “the one thing that works,” If such a silver bullet existed, companies like IBM, Apple, Ford or Budweiser would have discovered it long ago. Instead these companies run integrated campaigns to each target audience.
Three: The mouse trap delusion:
“If I build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to my door.”
How does the world know you make a mousetrap? When did they learn why it’s better than any other mousetrap on the market? Do they know where your door is? Can they find it when they need it?
That’s what marketing does for you. It finds people who are looking for your mousetraps and then communicates all those messages to persuade your target audience to purchase from you. Even more important, it cuts through the clutter of other companies touting the benefits of their mousetraps. And it creates something called “Share of Mind” that determines how familiar your prospects are with the company and the product. The more familiar they are, the more likely they are to purchase from your company. Share of Mind is really important because it comes before Share of Market. And Share of Market is important because that’s where the money is.
Four: The one-and-done approach:
“I’ll just run this one program and that will prime the pump. The rest will take care of itself.”
So what if you do want to just run your marketing campaign one time on the theory that a Big Bang will do it for you? In the advertising world there are two concepts: reach and frequency. Reach is how many people are exposed to your message. Frequency is how often you reach out to them, thus how often they see your message. While you have to balance the two, here’s the thing: frequency beats reach every time.
The reason is simple: People forget. Also we are all barraged by hundreds of marketing messages every day. How long do you think yours will last in the collective memory of your target audience? How long will it take for them to remember your message and associate it with your brand? Hint: “Got Milk” was used for 21 years. If you want everybody to know your name, make sure you talk to them as often as you can.
Five: The concept that cheap marketing is better than no marketing:
“I can’t afford to do much so I’ll just run this off on the copy machine and staple it.”
In marketing, perception is reality and the question is, what reality are you creating? Do you want your prospects to think of you as prosperous, growing and dependable or as small and struggling, likely to disappear next year? Or next month?
If you are going to do marketing, do the best job you possibly can. Don’t ask your brother in law to do it (unless he runs a marketing agency). Don’t use the cheapest materials. Don’t jump in and out depending on quarterly revenue. Put together the most solid, consistent campaign you can afford, one that integrates a variety of approaches and addresses your target audience(s) with messages they will understand. Then keep doing it.
Budget for the effort, stay consistent, look professional. Then track the results and find out what works. Do more of that. Try new things. Track the results and find out what works. Do more of that.
Wicked Reports Helps Small Businesses
This is where Wicked Reports can help. We don’t create taglines or write ad copy. We don’t make commercials or draft emails. But we can show you what works so you can do more of that, over and over. And make more money.
We developed Wicked Reports specifically for small to medium-sized businesses and we priced it so you can start at a low price point and grow as your profits increases. Check out our web page on SMB Solutions. Or schedule a live demo to see what we can do for you.
Once you understand what marketing programs are actually working over time and are confident that your marketing team is spending money wisely, you will be happy with your marketing.
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