Marketing is made up of many, many, many, many things, all working together to get the word out about you, your product or service, and your company. (I purposely repeated the word "many" many times.)
As small business owners, we cannot afford to use just the one marketing vehicle of advertising to spread the word about our businesses, especially since there are so many other free or low-cost things that can be done to increase revenue. We therefore have to rely on the many other things that make up a good marketing attack and put them together in such a way that they work with each other. Your job as a marketer is to create marketing tactics that support, reinforce and cross-promote each other.
Of course, every business is different as far as what vehicles work best and in conjunction with each other. One business might use these four marketing vehicles:
- Direct mail
- Direct sales
Another business might use a mix of these 10 marketing vehicles:
- Cable television
- Trade shows
- Public speaking
- Article writing
And yet another business might only use:
- Customer referrals
All these tactics might hit the business's target markets as intended by the marketers and generate a satisfactory amount of revenue to meet goals, if done on a consistent basis. The difference in all cases, however, is that the comfort level--both emotionally and financially--is different for each of the companies involved. Some companies and marketers, for instance, get overwhelmed with all there is to do when it comes to marketing; others like to do as much as possible--these type of business owners can easily and successfully juggle many balls at one time.
After a recent speech to an industry association, I was greeted by someone who appeared to be totally relieved to see me. I asked her about the sense of relief I could see on her face, and she told me it was so good to hear that she'd only have to do what she was comfortable with for her new marketing attack. When I followed up with her later, I found out she'd been successful with her campaigns and wasn't trying to do too much at one time: She launched what she felt comfortable with, what she could afford and what she could properly do on her own.
Taking on too much at one time risks something being done half way or, even worse, half right. Customers and prospects notice things like this. They also notice the marketer who's thorough, complete and accurate in their marketing efforts.
Jay Conrad Levinson, in his Guerrilla Marketing books, points out that there are easily hundreds, if not thousands, of tools, methods, tactics and strategies you can use to market your business--and that your competition is probably only using a few. He also emphasizes that if you just use a few more--but use them effectively-you'll dominate your industry, your marketplace and certainly your area of expertise.
It's also important for you to understand that customers and prospects react differently to different marketing weapons. That's why guerrilla marketing's basic premise is that you need multiple marketing weapons in your marketing attack to properly address your target market.
Marketing positioning guru Al Ries once said, "When you try to be all things to all people, you end up being nothing." This is just another way of saying you can't do it all, so do what's comfortable and do what you can afford.
Examine all the ways you market your business. Keep using those that work, get rid of the ones that don't, and fix the marginal ones--if they're fixable. Then add new weapons from time to time. Soon you'll have a set of methods and tactics for generating business and growth. You'll find new comfort levels, and your marketing will grow as your business does.
Al Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PR consultant and direct-mail promotion specialist. He's also the principle of Market For Profits, a Chicago-based marketing consulting firm. His two latest books, Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days and The Ultimate Guide to Direct Marketing are available at www.entrepreneurpress.com.