Categorized | Business

Entrepreneur

Marketing for the Marketing Impaired

By Tom Irmen

I’m often surprised by how little marketing knowledge the average small business owner possesses. But when you consider how many hats most owners wear, the hours they work, and the absolute necessity to remain on top of their chosen careers, it’s not surprising that many small businesses forego marketing altogether or just do it poorly.

In fact, I believe that as much as 70% of all small business marketing budgets are not invested wisely. I say invested, because your marketing dollars should be expected to produce a return over time that exceeds your investment. Here are some suggestions that may help you invest your marketing dollars more wisely.

First, identify those unique characteristics that successfully differentiate you from your competitors. Now prioritize them. Which characteristic or characteristics provide you with the greatest potential for success?

Second, identify who your target audience is. What are their ages? Are they male or female? Do they own their own home? Where do they live?

Third, what advertising platform (billboard, radio, TV, online, print) will most successfully and cost effectively reach your target audience? Will multiple platforms enhance your probability of success? For instance, should you place a display ad in two different print publications that target the same distribution area, or should you use, say, radio and print together?

Fourth, keep your message consistent. Avoid becoming the idea of the moment advertiser that struggles to establish a clear brand or message with their target market. I’ve actually seen a client place three different print ads in three different publications that had the appearance of three different companies.

Fifth, monitor your results over time and refine your message as necessary. Don’t expect miracles in the short term. Positive results require time.

If you’ve done your homework and chosen wisely, you’ll experience the positive results you expect and deserve. But if you have difficulty staying the course and expect immediate results, you might be best advised to keep your money on the sidelines and hope that word-of-mouth works its magic. But then you’ll have succeeded where even Apple hasn’t. Undeniably one of the world’s best known brands, Apple will spend more than $1 billion dollars on advertising in 2013.

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