...goes a long way, especially when I'm thinking about brands, brand management and the power of brands to build successful organizations and careers.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Small business owners have small ideas about marketing

Most entrepreneurs - deserving of the title - have great ideas. Many of these small business owners have unending passion for those ideas. They see how a product or service concept works and how it can make life better for people. They understand everything about the product or service they want to offer. And some even know how to organize a business to make money with that idea.

Few, in my experience, understand the basic concept of marketing.

I believe the majority of entrepreneurs are blinded by the light of a great idea. They believe that if they make it, the world will beat a path to their door. This usually is evidenced by the following statement:

"I can't do any marketing until I sell some product!"

That's the statement of someone who believes marketing is an expense rather than a tool. It's also a sign that the small business owner's vision doesn't reach past his or her own nose.

Now, I'm not an advocate of pouring loads of cash into a marketing campaign. There are plenty of large, pretentious advertising agencies in the world that will gladly be the recipient of that kind of marketing. Instead, I'm all for setting the stage with marketing basics and then building upon those to be different, inviting, relevant and truthful.

I think the small business needs the following just to be credible:
  1. Business cards and letterhead
  2. Basic introductory brochure
  3. Basic introductory website

In the next few posts, I want to elaborate on each of these items. Until then, what do YOU think are the basics? What should you have with you on your first day in business? On your first sales call?

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Anonymous Michael Wagner said...

Good post Mark.

I do think you have hit it on the head when you write, "blinded by the light of a great idea". It is my experience many fall in love with their mousetrap. Of course there are many superior products and services that never "get discovered" and thus the business fails.

You will often see both marketing and sales treated not just as an expense but as a kind of "dirty" part of the business that maybe has to be but one wishes it didn't.

I'm looking forward to your elaboration on the basic tools!

9:55 PM

Anonymous Aaron Johnson said...

A friend of mine signs his email with this quote that I find very interesting...

"it doesn't matter how inexpensively you don't reach your target market" - anonymous

11:23 AM

Blogger Olivier Blanchard said...

"blinded by the light of... what they think is a great idea."

9:55 PM

Anonymous Chris said...

Hi! My name is Chris and I work at Help.com. One of our members posted a question and after reading your blog entry about marketing and new businesses, I thought you might be able to reply to this question:

"Should I start my own business? At 29 years old and with a succesful career, I can’t stop thinking I should venture out on my own and take some risk. What things should I consider?"


3:34 PM


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