If you are one of the many small business owners who believe they don’t have enough time to focus on marketing, you are not mistaken. The reason for this is that marketing is both complicated and misunderstood by most people.
A simple search for “what is marketing” will yield what appear to be many different meanings. There is also what I think is the biggest misconception of marketing; too many people believe that marketing is mainly advertising and promotion. Although it is true that advertising and promotion are both forms of marketing, as a whole, marketing entails much more than that.
Marketing encompasses a lot of things, such as the price of your product, its’ positioning, the place you sell or make it, the people behind it, and how you package it.
For example, how you price your product or service is marketing. All that goes into how your people (employees) interact with your customers is marketing. The packaging of your product from its’ design to the wording you use is also marketing.
These are all examples of decisions regarding your business, product, or service that you have made in the past. You have probably made these decisions along with many others, not realizing that in the process you were making marketing decisions.
In reality that was exactly what you were doing, and its’ time you realized that while you might not have time to fully market your product or business, you do have time to engage in some marketing.
As a small business owner you just need to focus on the forms of marketing your time and budget (another precious resource for some small businesses) will allow.
With that being said, let us go over two examples of the marketing decisions we talked about previously from the standpoint of big businesses as well as small businesses.
I also want to inform you about how to make the same decisions as you market your business.
Positioning – The big guys
There has been a lot of talk lately about the resurgence and recent success of Lego. While Lego which started in a small workshop in 1932 enjoyed a great deal of success throughout its history, things started to change in the 1990’s.
Without going into too many details, one of the biggest reasons for this was that the 90’s were in large part the beginning of the video game era.
Lego, which was on the verge of collapse at the time, began to make changes. One of the biggest changes they made was to market themselves successfully to girls. They went from being a toy used in large part by boys (90% of the children playing with Legos were boys), to being increasingly adopted by girls as well.
In other words, Lego toys went from being positioned largely as a boy’s toy, to one that has enjoyed so much success with girls that it has helped Lego become the number two toy company in recent years.
Positioning – The little guys
Your positioning is how you present your product to your target audience. Suppose you have a small tax filing business and you would like to focus on your business’ positioning to determine what the best way to grow is.
One of the ways you can position your business is to focus on fast filings. You would present your business as perhaps the fast and easy alternative. You can put up signage and banners stating the customer can file in 30 minutes or less. By marketing your business this way you would get the type of customer who is perhaps short on time and looking to file his or her taxes as quickly as possible.
Place – The big guys
Apple has been one of the most successful companies in terms of marketing and selling their products. However, they have recently experienced some hiccups. In an attempt to gain some positive PR, Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook made a big announcement that for the first time in over a decade his company would be making Macs here in The United States.
Most of us do not work for Apple and don’t really know the full details behind any of their strategies and decision making process, but I think it is safe to say that this is a marketing move by Apple.
As you can see, simply deciding where you produce a product or choose to run your business is a form of marketing.
Place – The little guys
Choosing where you do business or sell a particular product is not always easy for every small business, but the decision can be a crucial marketing move.
Perhaps you are looking to open a second location for your business and are thinking of establishing your new location near the local college or university which would make it easier to target college students. Or maybe you have a café and choose to buy only from local (your city or region) sources such as farmer’s markets.
You market this to your customers by putting such information on your menu, signage, banners, posters, website, etc.
As a small business owner you are always marketing your business in one form or another. It’s just a matter of how you do it, and determining the best forms of marketing that fit your busy schedule.
So, as you change your thinking of whether or not you have time to do marketing, remember it’s all in your outlook. After all, your goal should be to bring your customers’ needs or desires in line with what you are offering as much as possible.
Let me know if you find this helpful and feel free to give your feedback.
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net