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Small business marketing strategy

By November 16, 2011July 16th, 2012All members

Here’s a short story about small business marketing strategy…

planningDavid (not his real name) was a client of mine, a few years ago. He was a left brain thinker. An engineer by training, he liked a structured approach, logical steps and processes. He worked endlessly on his marketing plan and talked about the detailed elements of his website and promotional mix. He was never in a rush and preferred to think everything through carefully.

Stephanie (not her real name) was another client. She was chaotic to work with, never wrote anything down and was always moving onto the next great thing in marketing. She didn’t like plans and used to say to me: “What’s the point of plans? They never work out anyway and they take so much time. Let’s get out there and DO SOMETHING!” Stephanie liked to talk about the ‘big picture’. She felt that the greater the number of playing cards you throw up in the air, the greater the chance would be of catching a winning hand.

David is primarily a logical left brain thinker, whilst Stephanie is an imaginative right brain person. Both approaches have their merits.

On the one hand, David was right to have a written marketing plan. Writing everything down takes time and effort and something magic happens, when you do this. You have to think the issues through and commit, in writing, to a particular course of action.

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight D Eisenhower

David’s mistake was to become stuck at the planning stage.

Stephanie’s mistake was to rely on Fortuna, the Roman goddess of chance (and fate). It is true that the larger your network of contacts / email marketing list etc., the luckier you become. However, this is only one element of a successful marketing strategy. It is not a good idea to rely on randomness alone. The winds of chance will drive you somewhere – but probably not where you intended.

Do you have a written marketing plan, for your small business? Do you have clear objectives? Do you think in terms of segmentation, positioning and differentiation? Do you consistently use key messages? Do you work with at least 10 promotional techniques on a regular basis?

Strategic issues include your business model, branding, product mix, pricing, geographical coverage, direct versus channel sales and promotional mix. With regards to the latter, there are over 250 ways to promote your small business, divided into 20+ categories. Internet marketing is one of these categories. The sub categories within Internet marketing include websites, SEO, newsletter, blogging, social media and PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing.

Navigator members of The Marketing Compass have access to an online marketing plan template, which they can fill in, via a web browser. They can then ask for feedback, via our website.

Our motto is ‘Small business marketing direction’. We are here to guide you through the complex options which you have to decide between.

As always, we welcome questions and feedback about small business marketing strategy.

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