During the course of working with small/medium sized businesses, I come across a common occurrence when the topic of Marketing comes up. I understand that cash flow and capital in small businesses are more of a luxury than a commodity. Most of these companies are just trying to make payroll and pay vendors to keep their heads above water. The last thing they believe is important is their marketing strategy; if they even have one!
As a small business, I can understand where they are coming from. However, I know that a half-hearted attempt at a marketing plan is no plan at all. I don’t know how companies think they are going to attract new customers, retain current ones, establish/gain market share or build a brand without a viable, solid and integrated marketing plan. I guess they think clients will fall out of the sky if they just register a trade name and make some business cards. I know firms that are having a hard time growing their business, yet they do not have the tools in place to attract customers. In certain cases, they have no marketing collateral, web presence or strategic plan and they wonder why they have no sales/revenue/customers.
Firms HAVE to put an integrated marketing plan into place. Even if you are a one man shop, you must show your target market that you are trustworthy, truthful and reliable. I understand that this may take some back to high school since this is a little superficial, yet everyone wants to feel they made the correct decision when buying a product or service. This goes beyond the actual purchase, but extends to post purchase behavior and cognitive dissonance. Marketing does not only help sell a product, it assists companies to retain or attract repeat customers. The marketing that consumers see after their purchase helps them re-affirm their decision. They feel they were right in buying your product.
So devise a marketing strategy, implement it and stick to it. Don’t dismiss marketing by saying it doesn’t work when you reluctantly execute it.