Marketing. For many business owners, it’s a frightening topic. Let’s face it: it’s a complicated world out there and marketing is getting more and more complex by the minute. So what are the biggest marketing challenges facing business owners today, and what can you do about them?
Challenge #1: Knowing what marketing is and why it matters
Many business owners have heard of marketing and many know what it means. However, marketing challenges often start at the beginning: there are just as many business owners and executives who don’t know what marketing is, don’t know why it matters, and thus, aren’t willing to invest in it.
What marketing is:
Marketing is, in essence, a big toolbox that brings clients and customers to your doorstep. It’s how you tell people what you do, who you do it for, how you do it, and what sets you apart from similar businesses.
I believe the argument could be made that marketing encompasses everything from the decision about who your target market is and what you’re going to offer them to the time extending past the point where someone has made a purchase and you’ve delivered on your promises. It’s a process, simply because everything you do in the areas of sales and customer service, for example, impact a customer’s decision with respect to whether s/he is going to do business with you again.
Why business owners think it doesn’t matter:
Many business owners are unaware of the utility and efficiency of marketing and why it can be so impactful for a business. In fact, I’ve talked with business execs who have said, “We’re at the top of our game in [insert city name here]. We don’t need marketing.” And I always laugh when I hear someone say that, because I know they won’t be at the top of the game for long. Marketing is the thing that keeps you at the top…or marketing is what will help another business beat you because you thought you didn’t need marketing.
Learn why marketing matters:
One of the best things about marketing is that is is the height of efficiency. That is, once you put a marketing campaign into place, it can work for you while you’re doing other things. This is one of the big misunderstandings about marketing – that it must take a lot of time. In fact, there are many tools in the marketing toolbox that a business can employ to grow the business without a huge expenditure of time or money.
Challenge #2: Justifying the expenditure on marketing
It’s tough for small businesses to justify the expenditure on marketing when they don’t fully appreciate the value marketing can bring. Further, when there are so many options out there and so many salespeople (and yes, con men/women) trying to peddle the latest “magic beans” in marketing, it can be a daunting task to know what will actually be of benefit to your business.
Focus on the value that marketing can bring. If you know that marketing can be effective and impactful for your business, then you’ll be more open to accepting that investing in marketing is a good idea. Think about it this way: the right marketing strategies should bring in enough new business that they pay for themselves- multiplied. So if you add new marketing strategies that bring in new business, then you’ll cover the expense of the new strategies and have more money coming in beyond that.
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