Marketing can shape the future of your business. Whether you own a product or service-driven small or mid-size business, there is often one missing element: effective marketing. There can never be enough written or said about marketing and, most importantly, effective marketing. Businesses cannot grow without effective marketing, yet this is frequently missing for small businesses and SMEs. The effort is often invested in operations, but the most efficient operation will not increase sales without good marketing.
Marketing Is More Than Advertising
There is a common misconception that marketing equals advertising. But marketing is much more than that. Marketing and advertising are often used interchangeably, but marketing comprises a full range of company activities to reach and motivate customers.
- Builds awareness
- Promotes a business
- Develops loyalty
- Builds your brand
- Creates demand for products and services
- Reaches a target market
- Encourages customers to connect, buy, and return for repeat purchases
- Announces new products or services
- Alerts customers to new locations to buy products
- Determine the pricing for your products and services
Marketing includes advertising and other components that work together simultaneously within the marketing plan. You establish your goals, evaluate and determine the best customers for your product or service, define and understand your competition, and develop a clear strategy for distinguishing yourself in the marketplace. The ultimate goal of marketing generates customer demand, increases your prospects, support your sales teams and processes, and ultimately increases your revenues. Marketing encompasses all of these activities designed to make customers aware of you and explain your competitive advantage.
- Special offers
- Email campaigns
- Event sponsorships
- Loyalty programs
- Social media
- Logo branded merchandise
It is not just one component that produces effective marketing but numerous components. While one component might be practical for one customer, another might be equally ineffective for a different customer. Most importantly, an effective marketing program is an active, breathing program that changes, can interact with other components, and promotes the business rather than simply publishing a website or developing bright signage.
Small business owners should ask themselves a few probing questions when it comes time for marketing their products and services. Determine what you are trying to sell? With so many options available today, how will people know you’re the best choice if your offerings don’t stand out from competitors?
Researching pricing strategies before making final decisions on price points will allow businesses like yourself to stay competitive.
- Who is your typical customer?
- How do your customers learn about you?
- What is the most effective way of reaching your potential customers?
- How do your competitors market their products and services, and how does that compare to how you market?
- Are you using all available components to market?
- Do you capitalize on your current, loyal customers and make the most of word-of-mouth referrals?
What Any Business Can Do
Any business can market, and any company can sell. However, that doesn’t mean every business will have effective marketing or that every business will sell, be highly profitable, and see continued growth. The superior advantage goes to the company that also understands why their customers purchase and purchase from them. Although a business markets its products and services, it sells benefits and solutions that satisfy customers’ desires and needs.
Combining various marketing components, knowing your customers, and understanding their needs will produce effective marketing. When there is no effective marketing, most likely there is no real business growth. On the other hand, effective marketing produces tangible results necessary for small businesses and SMEs to grow and succeed.
Effective marketing is a critical component of your success and should never be a missing element in your business