Marketing is a balance act

What’s a small guy to do?

Marketing spins the world. Business, product, art, person – we all want to be marketed. It’s an appreciation exercise. You work hard, you have value, you want to help certain community – how to make it known?
Big companies can afford to spend lots of money on their marketing campaign. Even countries advertise – our neighbour just launched an unprecedented tourism campaign to invite Canadians south of the border. At the same time our government had to slash advertising funds although this land has so much to show and offer of what can easily compete with others.

What can a small business owner do to market products or services without meaningful budget?

Our world has become so complex, that the list is endless, but so are the challenges. Very easy to get lost and depressed. The more so that whoever you ask is a self-proclaimed guru in marketing – from a student who is fishing for the bottom entry job, through countless business directories competing for any dollar they can get, to ’agencies’ fitting international multi-billion dollar corporations.

Traditional choices of print, television and direct marketing has long been supplemented by social media, product in- placements, street teams, flash mob events, viral videos etc. What works best for a dollar spent is highly disputed and contentious subject. New ‘killer’ marketing techniques are published every day, mostly by people who never succeeded themselves in marketing their business or experienced short outburst of success attributed to some accidental event.

Approach to marketing among small business owners depends on personal attitude and evolves with technology.

  • Some sit down sales people and stick with cold calling, emailing every list they can put their hands on and handing out leaflets. They spend fixed percentage of their budget on steady marketing.
  • Others seek their audience through every industry trade show they know about. Talking to people and establishing lively customer relationships face-to-face is their strength.
  • Less social types maximize their Adwords coupons, spend large portion of every week on fine-tweaking their latest SEO application, and submit their business listing to every online directory they can find. They also either blog themselves or use young and old wannabe marketers to blog on their behalf.
  • Extroverts would explore TV opportunities – whether ads or interviews on morning shows, guest appearances in radio talks, public appearances at sport or fundraising events.
  • Others scour social networks to catch up with the new trends, find out what works, do what ‘others’ are doing.
  • Large share of small business owners hardly do any marketing, not sure what to do and not having budget for it, they rely on just a word-of-mouth, family and friends, sometimes walk-in traffic.

This group is targeted by ‘gurus‘, trying to convince them that [marketing] spending is just another side of [income] receiving. It’s the two sides of one coin. That’s how the ‘giver’ marketing is published.

We are completely immersed in marketing soup. I know people who fear so much going to the supermarket, that they need a precise note what brand and package of a product to buy, walk in straight to the shelf where this product is and leave as soon as they can, not able to make a decision favourable to one product over any other.

Complexity became an anxiety.

Between checking your email every two minutes, more advertising than ever bombarding you visually and audibly all the time, new resources available through the internet and mobile devices, do you even take time to work on your own products or services? Or are you constantly processing small chunks of various information, just to spit it out, forget and be attracted by something else in a minute?

Marketing is way overdone.

Is there any chance to scale it back? Is anyone willing to tackle that direction?

While different marketing methods may work for you than for others, there is no clear guidance as to what you should do for the best results. Through failing at some campaigns and trials of new or old, you should not hesitate to make a decision and just go for it. Successful people make errors all the time. Most of the times this is the only way to grow.

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