Identifying the right marketing tools to reach your target customers is a challenge for every small-business owner. While going through all the critical steps to get to the point where you can open for business, many entrepreneurs don’t think ahead about how they’re going to get customers or clients to come through the door. It’s not as simple as announcing to the world that you’re open for business. Initially, a few people may trickle in, but how will you drive the volume of business you need to be successful?
When it comes to formulating a marketing strategy, use the “MACS” principle: massive amounts of common sense. By using common sense and taking advantage of the excellent, inexpensive marketing tools available today, a small business can build considerable brand buzz and ramp up its revenues.
“Marketing” is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of functions, including sales, branding, public relations, brochures, logo development, direct mail, advertising, internet strategy, newsletters, and merchandising. Marketing is so complex that unless you’re a marketing professional it’s impossible to understand all the nuances involved with each discipline. As your business grows, you should consider working with a marketing professional to develop appropriate strategies for your brand development; but initially, there’s much you can accomplish on your own.
Once you know who your target customers are, you can focus on strategies to best reach them. Mass media outlets such as radio, television, and newspaper advertisements are rarely the appropriate answer for a start-up. Why? For one thing, they are expensive. Also, you’re essentially paying to reach a lot of people who in most cases will never be interested in buying your product or service. Remember: massive amounts of common sense!
Unfortunately, many new business owners get lured into believing they have to make a big splash with their marketing in order to get the word out. Entrepreneurs frequently email me wanting to know how to get capital so they can run a television campaign, which they believe will solve all their marketing problems. Before they know it, they’ve invested a load of money, and yet they either have nothing to show for it or they’re not equipped to support the level of business this kind of advertising drives.
Let me give you example of what I mean. Do you remember the popular sock-puppet television ads for Pets.com? The site was launched in February 1999, and it sold pet supplies to retail customers. Its high-profile marketing campaign featuring the sock puppet quickly made it a widely recognized brand. In fact, the sock-puppet spokesperson was interviewed by People magazine and appeared on Good Morning America. Unfortunately, the infrastructure of the business could not support the overwhelming attention and sales the marketing campaign drove. As a result, the company lost money and was out of business by November 2000.
Not the outcome you want for you want for your small business. So as you develop your marketing strategy — remember it’s all about common sense.