Marketing is part of your overall business planning but marketing and advertising are not the same thing. Advertising consists of placing ads informing the public of your business. Traditional methods of advertising are classified ads, display ads, direct mail, bill boards, radio ads, TV ads.
Marketing consists of activity that introduces your businesses products and services to the whole world or your target market. Advertising is a piece of marketing but they are not the same. Marketing includes products like logos, brochures, business cards, brand awareness, branding of your products and services, and many other ideas.
You need to define your marketing goals: What do you want to accomplish with your business marketing? Who is your target market? Do you want immediate customer response or are you just trying to provide information on your industry? Should the Internet be part of your marketing? Will your business operate only in your local area (within 3 miles of your location) or do you want to be city wide, state wide, regional, national or world wide? What media works best for your answer to the above question? Is there one media that works no matter what type of products and/or services you sell? If so how will you use that media to reach your intended audience? What ROI (Return on Investment) are you expecting for your marketing spend? Will you manage your marketing internally or will you outsource your marketing? With you marketing reach, will you hire 1 company to traditional marketing and online marketing or an expert at each type of marketing? Have you developed a marketing plan for your business? Have you ever seen a simple marketing plan? You can spend thousands on getting a marketing plan created or you can control this expense by using the KISS principle of marketing? Identify what you know and stay within what you know to start out with? Grow over time and incorporate additional marketing products as your growth allows?
What should your financials look like for your marketing plan? Your choice depends on your business and your budget. Don’t let someone try and fit you into their model, the model you choose should fit your business structure and your individual business goals? You should have a business plan and marketing plan to operate your business. Even a small one or two person business should have both plans. With all of the activity you have to do every day, it is difficult to determine if every decision you make keeps you on plan or steers you outside of you business plan? You should regularly review your business and marketing plan to see where your business is heading. Periodic reviews should be done, and it is up to you as the business owner to determine this schedule and stick to the schedule so you can steer your business toward the profitability you desire for your business? The Business plan and marketing plan are living documents. Your periodic reviews of your business should allow you to identify changes and implement those changes in time to prevent consequences or allow you to steer toward new opportunities as they present themselves. The primary advantage of small business is ability to react QUICKLY to a changing customer market place? By changing quickly to your customers demands, you become a significant value to your customers and they will continue to buy as long as your provide VALUE to your existing and potential customers.
This article is brought to you by Don Stone, owner of I-NET Inbound. We specialize in working with small businesses to develop an Online Marketing Plan that will help you use the internet to acquire new customers for your business. If your business does not have a visible presense on the Internet, you are missing out on millions of prospective new customers.