Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ideas to Grow - Marketing is NOT a Verb

If you have been following our Blog and our suggestions for the last couple of months, you will by now have identified YOUR BEST CUSTOMER and written your RIGHT MESSAGE.
So the next step is to put that to work to get you some more business.

This process is often called "marketing".... and is a concept that many have struggled with.
Business owners often do not understanding how to "market" their business. Or if they do understand how.... they often don't get why. 
All in all, this can be an uncomfortable, scary and unproductive place to be. 
The owner feels like it is something hugely important (and it is).... but if you don't get it, you certainly won't do it well. If that feels like you, I would guess two things about you -
  • You didn't go to school to study marketing.
  • You are a pretty typical owner of a small business.

One of our favorite business strategists, Michael Gerber, wrote a book in 1986 titled "The E-Myth Revisited". So long ago in fact, that in this case the "E" stands for entrepreneurial (not electronic or e-mail).

One of Michael's root premises is that.... most small businesses are not owned by entrepreneurs.... they are owned by a technician, who had an "entrepreneurial seizure".  

We came to business ownership by way of an indirect path.... we found something that we liked and/or did well. Then, we decided it would be even more fun if we owned a business that did that.

Since 1986 another path has evolved too.... the "lifestyle seizure". Many of us reached a point where lifestyle is the most important thing for us. So, we see business ownership as a vehicle to do more of what we want.... and less of what we don't like.

Either way, business ownership through "seizure" doesn't make us bad people.

But those of us who came to business ownership via an "entrepreneurial or lifestyle seizure" are often missing some of the instincts of the true entrepreneur.... and may not have the passion to attack the all the challenges of business ownership, without some help.

So, let's start here....
  • Marketing is a noun. It describes a collection of activities that you will use to grow your business.
  • Marketing is not a verb (even though you often hear it used as one). You can't actually DO marketing.
If I were to ask you what you do now to "market" your business, your answers might look like this.
  • I place ads on the radio or in the newspaper (that's not marketing.... that's placing ads) 
  • I network at a variety of events (that's not marketing.... that's networking)
  • I send direct mailers (that's not marketing.... that's mailing)
  • I cold call (that's not marketing.... that's phoning)
  • I blog or email (that's not marketing, that's.... well you get the idea)
So from that we, we draw four conclusions -
  • If you don't know how to "do marketing" you are not broken.... in fact, you may be normal.
  • In order to promote your business you have to "do" something.
  • You can't or won't "do" something you don't understand.
  • You understand plenty and could use those things to promote your business.
Over the course of my next three or four posts, we are going to create a "Marketing Action Plan" for your business.
A Marketing Action Plan is a fewspecific, activities that you can do wellconsistently and measure. That's really important, so I am going to say it twice and really loud - FEWSPECIFICACTIVITIES, THAT YOU DO WELLCONSISTENTLY AND MEASURE.
We are going to build your plan in the plainest language we possibly can. We are going to test it against two screens at every step of the process -
  • Is it comfortable for you (you won't do it well and consistently if it's not)
  • Is it effective (even the best laid plans don't always work, that's why we measure).
This will let you stop thinking about "marketing" your business and let you start thinking about what you can "do" to make your business more visible to the people who want to be your customers.
Michael Gerber's really did write a great book. It's provides a very useful prospective for the small business owner and you should really think about reading it.

Linda Boyd
Instant Imprints - Louisville

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