D.I.Y. Marketing for Busy Business Owners

In our ongoing mission to help businesses in and around the Route 422 corridor execute more effective marketing that will generate leads that develop into sales, we’re hopeful that some of our advice is being implemented directly by the person who will benefit most – you.

You- the busy business owner somewhere between King of Prussia and Pottstown- could hire a consultant to tackle every task that your company requires to effectively manage your marketing. Unfortunately for companies like Virtual Farm Creative, that gestalt kind of effort no longer fits into most company’s marketing budgets.

In fact, as more and more marketing is being done in-house, ad-hoc marketing managers are becoming less focused on their core competency. Whether their real position is managing a sales team or meeting with new clients, time spent developing display ads or designing web pages is time not spent doing what they should be doing.

When you work like an agency, however, you’re able to maximize effectiveness and minimize effort and cost. Agencies plan what they are going to do to reach specific goals for clients and put projects on production schedules rather than trying to hit everything with one shotgun blast. Scattershot marketing results in a fractured image and a marketing campaign’s loss of momentum. Instead, if you protract projects and marketing efforts you will also be able to measure the success of each program within the context of the life of your overall marketing plan.

It’s unfortunate, for us, that marketing consultation is being outsourced less and less, but fortunate for you as long as you apply the same standards of excellence that an agency would. The same standards of excellence you bring to your company mission, whatever it may be, should be reflected in your marketing mission because, like it or not, that’s the way the consumer sees it. To your buyer, whether in a consumer market or the business-to-business universe, perception is reality and the reality is, if your marketing materials are pedestrian and lackluster, your offering will be viewed as pedestrian and lackluster no matter how awesome it really is.

I had a client once tell me that he didn’t want his material to look too professional. “We don’t want to stand too far apart from the competition.” It seems that the market leader did a very poor job in executing their product catalog and – since they were the market leader – my client thought that emulation would breed success.

In a small section of some more industrial markets, buyers appreciate knowing that their vendor/partners do not allocate significant portions of their budget to marketing and perceive this as driving up cost of goods. If you’re content to sell to this group and this group alone then low level marketing will suffice. But why wouldn’t your objective be to become the market leader by doing everything better than the competition including marketing execution?

We’re talking about marketing in very broad terms here today. Basically any corporate communication that promotes your product, service, company or mission should be covered under the marketing umbrella, standardized by a plan and executed with excellence. Anything that promotes your company to your target audience from your company name, image and brand to signage, vehicles and uniforms – not just printed collateral and Internet content.

Consider the choices that you make as a consumer and you can begin to understand how small businesses need to focus on complete marketing standardization to compete against each other. For instance, when selecting a dining spot in Pottstown or Upper Perk, Collegeville or Conshohocken, your choice is influenced by past experiences, personal referrals and the way that the perspective restaurants present themselves in their promotional efforts. All things being equal in what was referred and what you’ve experienced, you then become influenced by names, signs, display ads, commercials and more. It’s not the volume or frequency of the marketing effort that hooks regional consumers as much as it is the quality and consistency of the message.

Every week we attempt to craft a column that will help a very specific group of potential marketers – small business’s unfamiliar with basic marketing because they’re highly dedicated to their business mission. As you take on more and more of your company’s all-important marketing mission remember not to neglect your core competency and to move at a pace that will allow your efforts to flourish.