“If you’re not great at marketing your business, are you better to push yourself to learn how to do it, or just contract it out, You see the place that businessmarketonline most people would go to would be a marketing consultant – someone with a packet of alphabet soup after their name. Now that might make you feel comfortable, but what about the results? Is there a ‘no gain, no fee’ guarantee?
I ‘contracted in’ by hiring an in-house Marketing Manager with a degree in marketing. He was illiterate, and everything that he wrote had to be rewritten by one of the office staff so that it made sense. I also had to paint the big picture for him so that all he had to do was fill in the minor details because he really had little idea about what to do. He came to me from a similar position with the subsidiary of a public company. I still can’t understand how he got through university.
I have since discovered that the best marketers in the world are predominately self-taught. They have become famous by producing results. Generally, those results were learned in the school of hard knocks while they were building a business.
But the thing that they understood, right from the beginning, was that if you are in any sort of business, it is, first and foremost, the Marketing Business.
No, you’re not in retail; you’re not in manufacturing, importing, service or anything else.
You’re in the Marketing Business!
If you don’t market your products and services then you won’t have a business.
So who should do the marketing? Well, that depends on how much you want to spend, and on how much you want to grow, as a business owner. A good marketer will cost you around $4-5,000 per day, if not per hour, with a money back guarantee to make a % difference to your business. Therefore you need to be prepared to provide the infrastructure for the implementation of the strategies, as it is too costly to have them provide the infrastructure and they don’t want to do it.
Now if you are talking to a marketer that will do everything for you including all the ‘mail-outs’ then you probably haven’t got a very good marketer. Their time is not valuable enough.
You also want someone who is putting quantified results on the board every week for different businesses and can show you the proof in writing. Not a mouth in trousers, but a doer everyday.
Now they are not easy to find. There might be 1 or 2 in Australia, there might be 3 or 5 in the U.S.A. that can really make a serious difference to your business and provide enormous value. So then you start compromising. On fees, on results! And once you start compromising, you become the place where they can practice their ideas on and you are paying for it. This is where the decision needs to be made.
Do I get someone to practice on my business while I pay them, or do I invest the time and money to learn and practice myself?
If you are going to learn any new skills, then it’s more profitable to learn marketing skills than any other. Why? Because they can make you money! There are generally three skill sets that you need to learn that are outside of running the business. They are, how the accounts work and how to read a balance sheet – so that you know what’s going on and can select and instruct your accountant; the law, as it relates to your business so that you know how to instruct your solicitor; and marketing, so that you can obtain prospects to sell your products/services to. The one that you should know the most about is marketing.
No marketing – no business
Marketing is Educating your customer about what your product/service can do for them………and then convincing them to buy from YOU!
So where do you go for the learning experience? Probably the quickest option is to find an ‘expert’ and go and work for them for a month. No, you don’t get paid, you may even have to pay them, but that is the quickest. Otherwise you need to be prepared to invest $10-20,000 in doing courses and training so that you can start implementing strategies into your business and learn to recognise successful ideas that you can swipe for adaptation into your business.
So which is better; learn how to do it, or contract it out?
Long term, learn how to do it.
Short term, do either or both depending on your immediate needs and finances.
Copyright 2009-2011 Tony Beavan
Small businesses often work with a limited budget and amount of resources, thus it poses a major dilemma in terms of marketing the business to compete with larger corporations. One mistake that small business owners often commit is that they often spread themselves too thin. Thus, there is no focus on their small business marketing and they often produce little to no impact on their target audience.
Experts point out that there are 4 basic points that must be considered when marketing a small business: business plan, marketing plan, market research, and budget.
Writing a Business Plan
Your small business plan should cover at least one year but leave a tab wherein you can input monthly reports. Experts also suggest that you update it on a quarterly basis, such that your business could adapt to changing market trends.
You need to make small business marketing your priority when writing a business plan. You must specifically look into the medium-term, say 2 to 4 years into your business. Here is where you need to get all areas of the business involved – from financing, manufacturing, supplies, personnel, and marketing. Thus, it leads you toward the next most important aspect of your small business planning- the marketing plan.
Here are some tips to consider when coming up with an effective small business marketing strategy:
- Create a rallying point. But you have to instill that internally first, such that the people involved in your business has got a good sense of where you are headed and fill in on their roles.
- Come up with a specific and detailed plan of action within a specified time period, such as the next 12 to 18 months. Be as narrow as possible so you can attain focus.
- Use your marketing plan as a step-by-step guide towards operational activities. You need to identify goals and assign tasks.
- Always look at the big picture in your small business marketing plan. Oftentimes, you focus too much on the details that you fail to analyze whether results are visible on a larger scale.
Another important aspect in every small business marketing is to conduct market research. The purpose here is to come up with a plan on how to resolve marketing problems that may arise. Some of the key areas to prioritize during your market research surveys include product differentiation, market segmentation, and other related data.
Budget and Resources
The final but equally important aspect in marketing a small business is the ability to maximize the limited resources available. Below are tips you can use to make the most out of your small marketing budget:
- Since ads are expensive to produce and run, you need to look for ways of sending your advertising message directly to your intended audience with a fraction of the original cost. Recycling ads is also another tip to save money and effort.
- If you have come up with an effective advertising campaign, stick with it. With limited resources, you have to settle with the ones that produce results instead of experimenting.
- Research for inexpensive advertising approach that will produce more leads, particularly go for free ads.
- Do it yourself instead of paying for others.
Combine all four key aspects when coming up with an effective small business marketing plan to ensure that you get effective results in less time.